Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley Will Redesign AmEx Platinum Cards, and Other News

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American Express SVP Rafael Mason, Studio Museum director Thelma Golden, Kehinde Wiley, and Julie Mehretu at the American Express X The Studio Museum Art Discussion on Nov. 17 at MoMA. Photography by Bryan Bedder

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Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley Will Redesign AmEx Platinum Cards

Earlier this week, the Studio Museum in Harlem and American Express hosted a conversation with the artists Julie Mehretu and Kehinde Wiley, who have both been tapped to redesign the AmEx U.S. Platinum Card. The two newly reimagined cards will be unveiled next month during Art Basel Miami Beach and will be available to American Express Platinum Card holders starting in January. “Both of these artists are innovators,” Studio Museum director Thelma Golden said during the panel. “What’s important about these artists is the way in which they’ve opened new paths, new ways of thinking. Their art has changed the way we think about art, but it also changes the way we see the world.” 

During the conversation, American Express also announced a $1 million donation to the Studio Museum to help the institution continue supporting artists of African descent as part of a broader goal for the company to allocate $1 billion to advance DEI initiatives. Mehretu and Wiley both participated in the Studio Museum’s artist-in-residence program in the early 2000s and have since enjoyed illustrious careers. The former has risen as one of today’s foremost abstract painters with recent landmark retrospectives at LACMA and the Whitney Museum. Wiley, who reimagines famous Western portraits by replacing white subjects with Black ones, is perhaps best known for painting Barack Obama’s official presidential portrait, which is currently on a national tour

Imagined Landscapes by Burberry in Jeju, South Korea. Image courtesy of Burberry

Burberry Unveils a Mirrored Mountain Pop-Up on a South Korean Island

Continuing the string of imaginative fashion pop-ups this year, Burberry’s topographical Imagined Landscapes has landed on the South Korean island of Jeju. Inspired by the silhouette of nearby Hallasan mountain, the mirrored installation is a cinematic experience. Inside the undulating structure, which reflects the surrounding subtropical terrain, the brand’s outerwear collection is displayed alongside three films by artists Maotik, Cao Yuxi, and Lia Jiayu that explore the intersection between nature and technology. 

Visitors can expect the British heritage house’s puffer jackets and new renditions of its signature trench coat and, nearby, an outpost Thomas’s Café, with a menu of confections by pastry chef Justin Lee of Seoul’s JL Dessert Bar. TikTok users will have access to a custom augmented reality filter that projects swimming sharks into the sky. Coinciding with the activation, Burberry partnered with the non-profit organization Jeju Olle Foundation to invest in maintaining the island’s scenic trails. Imagined Landscapes will be open through December 12.  

The Preston Bus Station in Lancashire, England. Photography by Gareth Gardner

A bus terminal in England receives the 2021 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize.

Slated for demolition in 2012, the Preston Bus Station in Lancashire stood as a landmark of post-WWII Brutalism originally designed in 1968 by architects Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson. The transport hub, however, dodged the wrecking ball thanks to a 2013 Grade II listing status by Historic England and a facelift by John Puttick Associates in 2018 that awarded the firm and building with the coveted biennial architecture prize. Using a pedestrian-oriented approach, the London-based studio reworked the station’s circulation programs and restored its hallmark rubber floors, hardwood benches, and Helvetica typeface signage.

Staples Center will officially be renamed Arena, and Angelenos aren’t having it.

At this point, we’re all used to major sports stadiums being named after corporations: Citi Field in New York and T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, among others. The longtime home of the Los Angeles Lakers is Staples Center, which will officially be renamed Arena on Christmas Day this year. The Singapore-based cryptocurrency platform paid an undisclosed amount for the deal, which struck a nerve with Angelenos who grew up with Staples Center as the home of Shaquille O’Neal and the late Kobe Bryant. Chicagoans can sympathize: many still refer to the city’s tallest building as the Sears Tower, despite the structure being rechristened the Willis Tower in 2009. 

The new Lehmann Maupin space in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Image courtesy Lehmann Maupin

Lehmann Maupin upgrades their Seoul gallery, forecasting optimism for the Korean market. 

Lehmann Maupin will soon relocate from the Sogyeokdong neighborhood to a larger gallery in Hannam-dong, an upscale area home to movie stars and blue-chip galleries. The new building, designed by Society of Architecture, will stretch across two stories and feature an outdoor terrace to showcase large-scale sculpture. The move forecasts optimism for Seoul’s burgeoning art market, which has emerged as a rival to the politically beleaguered Hong Kong. “We’ve seen a growth in young collectors who’ve been behind their screens for the past 14 months, and they’re not contributing to a real buzz in the art scene,” co-founder Rachel Lehmann told the Art Newspaper about the new crop of South Korean gallery-goers. An exhibition by the American painter Lari Pittman will inaugurate the new space, which is slated to open in the early spring. 

A contentious street art installation receives a removal order from the Spanish government. 

Conceived by Spanish artist Mateo Maté, the public art project “Fachada derecha – Fachada izquierda” aims to spark discourse on the polarities of Spanish politics. On a corner of East Madrid, Maté adorned two walls with plaques alluding to left- and right-wing divisions in Spain: 24 signs make up the left wall that celebrates writers such as Federico García Lorca, Miguel Hernández, Victoria Kent, while its right counterpart gives insight into coup member General Emilio Mola and Spanish Legion founder General Jose Milan-Astrai. Perceived as a threat to Spain’s political framework, the Madrid Council ordered its removal—a power move from the new Socialist-led government that recently mandated the persecution of crimes during the 1939-75 Franco regime.

Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go in Manhattan. Image courtesy Starbucks

Starbucks and Amazon team up to launch an all-in-one store with no cash registers.

Located in Midtown Manhattan, the store concept called “Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go” (that’s a mouthful!) allows customers to order ahead on the Starbucks app while integrating Amazon’s new Just Walk Out technology that bypasses checkout. The store provides wider tables and USB ports for those intending to stick around and do work on-site. “Our goal with this new store concept is to give our customers the ability to choose which experience is right for them as they go through their day, whether it’s utilizing the Starbucks and Amazon apps to purchase food and beverages on the go, or deciding to stay in the lounge for the traditional third place experience Starbucks is known for,” Katie Young, SVP of global growth and development at Starbucks, said in a statement. Starbucks and Amazon plan to open at least three of these locations next year.

Apple soon plans to roll out a “Self Service Repair” program for iPhones and Macs.

The tech giant has announced plans to distribute tools to consumers to facilitate third-party repairs on its hardware, an action that it has previously avoided on the pretext of safety and performance issues. Available for Macs alongside iPhones 12 and 13, Apple’s Self Service Repair program is slated to supply replacement displays, batteries, and cameras on their online store as early as next year. Future repair options are expected in the future for all products that run on its latest M1 chip.

The Resonate Chair. Image courtesy Resonate

Today’s attractive distractions:

Balenciaga and Gucci team up for a slightly confusing Hacker Project collection.

A lucky nurse finds a valuable 600-year-old golden “bible” with a metal detector.

This chair uses vibration, flickers, and sound so sitters can meditate more easily.

Manolo Blahnik celebrates 50 years with a virtual look at its marquee moments.

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