Leandro Erlich Lets You Dangle From a Brownstone, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

“The Building” (2023) by Leandro Erlich at the Liberty Science Center. Photography by Gus Powell

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Leandro Erlich Lets You Dangle From a Brownstone 

You might get dizzy exploring the work of Leandro Erlich, the Argentine conceptual artist whose acclaimed Bâtiment series recreates facades of vernacular buildings: a Haussmanian row house in Paris and a 19th-century Victorian terrace in London among them. His latest installation brings a giant replica of a New York brownstone to the entrance lobby of the Liberty Science Center, but what appears to be a traditional walkup—complete with fire escapes, window units, and a ground-floor deli—isn’t a building at all. 

Instead, he simply places a model of the building on the ground and allows “spect-actors” to climb through. A giant mirror angled overhead creates a gravity-challenging scenario in which participants seemingly drape themselves across walls Catwoman-style and pretend to hang off balconies. It’s a simple trick, but the surprising scenes it creates are sure to shock—and challenge our perceptions of reality. “Art, the way I conceive of it, exists to pose questions about our understanding of the world,” Erlich says. The Building will remain on view at Liberty Science Center through the summer. —Ryan Waddoups

An artwork said to be by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Image via Orlando Museum of Art

An auctioneer admits to making fake artworks that sparked a major scandal in Orlando.

Michael Barzman, a Los Angeles auctioneer, has pleaded guilty to creating fake artworks purported to be by Jean-Michel Basquiat that were displayed at the Orlando Museum of Art. Court documents reveal that Barzman worked closely with another man, known only as J.F., to create between 20 and 30 fake works, which were then placed outside to weather them so they would look as though they had been created decades ago. He then sold the works and gave half the profits to his associate. The scandal led to the ousting of former Orlando Museum of Art director Aaron De Groft and prompted the FBI to seize all 25 works. 

The MTA must make most New York Subway stations fully ADA-accessible by 2055.

A federal judge has approved a settlement to a class action lawsuit that will require the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to install elevators or ramps at 95 percent of subway and Staten Island Railway stations. The move is part of an ongoing effort by advocates for disabled people to improve access to a transit system where only a quarter of nearly 500 stations comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under the terms of the settlement, the MTA will have until 2055 to install elevators or ramps at the more than 300 stations currently inaccessible to wheelchair users and others with mobility impairments.

Bill Hellmuth, the president, CEO, and chairman of architecture firm HOK, dies at 69.

Bill Hellmuth, the American architect known for his “hands-on” approach to designing buildings, has died at 69 after a long illness. As president, CEO, and chairman of global architecture studio HOK, Hellmuth oversaw dozens of projects across 20 countries, including the the 75-storey Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Headquarters and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Riyadh. Hellmuth won 29 awards for his work from the AIA and launched the HOK Diversity x Design Scholarship in 2021. 

Sketches of Esteban Cortázar’s costumes for the Miami Ballet. Image courtesy of the Miami Ballet

Esteban Cortázar is designing costumes for Miami Ballet’s production of Sentimiento.

Esteban Cortázar, a fashion designer who gained fame in the ‘90s for mingling with celebrities like Madonna and Gianni Versace, has returned to South Beach after spending 16 years in Paris. He’s currently designing costumes for Miami City Ballet’s Sentimiento, which is choreographed by Durante Verzola and premieres on Friday at the Arsht Center. Cortázar’s designs draw on his early exposure to Art Deco, drag queens, and ballroom dancing. 

Simon Holloway has been named creative director of British luxury men’s label Dunhill.

Simon Holloway has been appointed as creative director of the British luxury men’s brand Dunhill. Holloway, who succeeds Mark Weston and previously served as creative director of fellow Richemont label James Purdey & Sons, is preparing to present his first collection in London this coming February. According to a statement, Holloway’s appointment signals the brand is doubling down on its principles of British craft, innovation, functionality, and masculine elegance, with an emphasis on tailored clothing, luxury fabrics, and classic silhouettes.

Italy is set to pass a law imposing heavy fines on those who vandalize cultural sites.

Italy is pushing to pass a law that will impose heavy fines on vandals who damage cultural sites. The proposed legislation, introduced by the culture minister, will require vandals to pay fines ranging from 10,000 to 60,000 euros ($11,000–$66,000). The law is expected to be passed easily due to the high cost of repairing damage to monuments. Recent examples of vandalism in Italy include activists dumping black dye into a fountain sculpted by Bernini.

The BWD Shoe by MSCHF. Image courtesy of MSCHF

Today’s attractive distractions:

Magicians competing at the “Magic Olympics” must win by fooling each other.

Cooperatives are helping to curb unsustainable farming in the mezcal market.

MSCHF unveils a pair of sneakers that can be worn backwards like sandals.

Take a look back at the greatest hits of MAD Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee.

All Stories