Kerry James Marshall Charts a Path Forward With Stained Glass, and Other News

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“Now and Forever” (2023) by Kerry James Marshall. Image courtesy of the Washington National Cathedral

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With Stained Glass, Kerry James Marshall Charts a Path Forward 

In 1953, the United Daughters of the Confederacy donated two stained glass windows honoring Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson to the Washington National Cathedral. Designed by Boston artist Wilbur H. Burnham, the windows depict both Confederate generals as Christian crusaders alongside images of the Confederate flag. In the wake of the 2015 massacre of nine Black members of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the cathedral’s then-dean Gary Hall called for their removal. “Simply put, these windows were offensive,” current dean Randolph Marshall Hollerith said in a statement. “They were antithetical to our call to be a house of prayer for all people.”

The cathedral’s administration formed a task force to determine the windows’ future and, in 2021, selected artist Kerry James Marshall to envision the new panes. His windows, titled Now and Forever and installed in two adjacent bays, were dedicated over the weekend with support from the Ford Foundation and the Mellon Foundation. They depict a crowd of Black demonstrators holding signs that read “no foul play” and “fairness,” portraying the ongoing march toward equality and justice. “[Pieces of art] can invite us and anybody who sees them to reflect on the propositions they present, and to imagine oneself as a subject and an author of a never-ending story that has yet to be told,” Marshall said in a statement. “This is what I tried to do, with words, images, and colored glass, for right here and right now.” —Ryan Waddoups

A digitally generated image by Generative AI by Getty Images. Image courtesy of Getty Images

Getty Images releases a generative AI image maker trained on the company’s data.

Getty Images has rolled out a new AI tool, Generative AI by Getty Images, developed in collaboration with Nvidia. The tool is designed to generate images from Getty’s extensive creative library, avoiding the copyright issues that have troubled other AI companies. CEO Craig Peters stated the tool is “commercially safe” and will not use news images, aiming to prevent the distribution of deepfakes. Getty plans to compensate artists whose work was used to train the AI and is currently in a lawsuit with Stability AI for using its images without permission. Peters also highlighted the tool’s revenue-sharing model, which he says counters the industry notion that AI can’t benefit artists financially.

The Art Institutes, a for-profit college network, abruptly closes its last eight campuses.

The Art Institutes, a for-profit network of colleges, is closing its last eight campuses in the United States, affecting 1,700 students and leaving faculty members jobless. The decision follows a series of setbacks for the institution, including low enrollment numbers exacerbated by the pandemic, a $95 million fraud settlement in 2015, and loss of accreditation that led to previous closures. Students were notified right after their final exams, causing widespread distress and confusion. The closures also raise questions about the future of arts education as other institutions are facing similar financial strains. The Department of Education is working on providing support for affected students, but current federal rules may not require the Art Institutes to offer “teach-out” plans for students to complete their degrees.

Image courtesy of “The White Review”

The White Review, a London-based arts magazine, goes on hiatus amid funding woes. 

The White Review, a London-based arts and literature magazine, is going on an indefinite hiatus due to persistent funding challenges. The publication, which has relied on Arts Council England funding since its 2011 inception, has faced financial difficulties, particularly after being regularly denied funding starting in 2021. The magazine’s editors, Rosanna Mclaughlin, Izabella Scott, and Skye Arundhati Thomas, recently completed their two-year tenures and will continue to work on a final anthology of new writing in translation, funded by a £10,000 ($12,166)  grant from the Jan Michalski Foundation. The magazine has been a significant platform for emerging and established artists and writers, featuring a wide range of content from fiction and poetry to interviews and artwork, and has also sponsored annual literary prizes. The board is in consultations regarding the magazine’s future.

Zvi Hecker, a Polish-Israeli architect celebrated for his complex geometries, dies at 92.

Zvi Hecker, a Polish-Israeli architect known for his contributions to Modernism, has died at 92. Known for his intricate geometric designs inspired by sunflower seed patterns, his notable works include the Spiral Apartment House in Ramat Gan and the Heinz-Galinski-Schule in Berlin. Born in Kraków, Poland, he eventually moved to Israel and studied architecture at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. He founded private practices with Eldar Sharon and Alfred Neumann, and moved to Berlin in 1991 to work on the Jewish School. Hecker’s later projects extended to Warsaw’s Jewish Museum and the Market Hall in Bethune. He received the German Critic Prize for Architecture in 1996 and the Rechter Prize in Tel Aviv in 1999.

Lego scraps an effort to manufacture its tiny toy bricks from recycled plastic bottles.

Lego has scrapped an initiative to manufacture bricks from recycled PET bottles, stating the move would result in higher carbon emissions over the product’s life cycle. The Danish toymaker, which produces billions of Lego pieces annually, initially aimed to transition from ABS plastic, a petroleum-based material, to recycled PET. However, the company found that PET was softer, required additional components for durability, and demanded more energy for processing. Tim Brooks, Lego’s head of sustainability, noted the shift would have necessitated significant changes in their manufacturing facilities. Instead, Lego will focus on enhancing the sustainability of its existing ABS material and has committed to tripling its annual spending on sustainability efforts to $3 billion by 2025.

Today’s attractive distractions:

NASA’s long-underway OSIRIS-REx mission brought asteroids back to Earth.

Roti canai, Malaysia’s top breakfast choice, is named the world’s best bread.

This new Netflix game lets you compose narrative arcs using comic blocks…

…while comic book–themed podcasts seem to be verging on a breakthrough.

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