LVMH Acquires a Stake in Jay-Z’s Champagne Brand Ace of Spades, and Other News

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Ace of Spades Champagne

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LVMH acquires a 50 percent ownership stake in Jay-Z’s champagne brand Ace of Spades.

LVMH Moët Hennessy has acquired a 50 percent ownership stake in Armand de Brignac, the champagne brand owned by Jay-Z that’s otherwise known as “Ace of Spades” due to its logo. Neither Jay-Z or LVMH disclosed financial terms of the transaction, but according to a Jay-Z verse on Meek Mill’s 2018 track “What’s Free,” the company is worth “half a B,” thus valuing LVMH’s stake at $250 million. “I’m proud to welcome the Arnault family into ours,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “It’s a partnership that has felt familiar the entire time. We’re confident that the sheer power of the Moët Hennessy global distribution framework, its unparalleled portfolio strength, and its long-established track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further.” The deal shortly follows the launch of Jay-Z’s first marijuana line, called Monogram, that was borne out of a partnership with the California-based cannabis company Caliva.  

Thomas P. Campbell, former Met CEO, pens a pointed op-ed against museum deaccessioning. 

In the past few months, a handful of art museums have sold works to raise funds for operating costs. This kind of transaction would have previously been prohibited by the industry watchdog Association of Art Museums Directors (AAMD). Due to the pandemic, however, the AAMD temporarily lifted its jurisdiction for two years, which yielded a recent deaccessioning spree. Last month, for example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art—the largest and arguably most influential institution in the U.S—announced that it was considering selling works to fund maintenance costs of its permanent collection. 

Thomas B. Campbell, former CEO of the Met and current director of the De Young Museum in San Francisco, penned an op-ed that raises several concerns about the practice. First, he questions whether the AAMD has created circumstances that will eventually normalize deaccessioning. The post-pandemic economic fallout will be felt for years, and it’ll be difficult for the AAMD to halt the practice when museums are still struggling. Second, it remains uncertain how funds will be used for “collection care,” a loosely defined term. Third, it begs donors to question what institutions are doing with their gifts if deaccessioning becomes the norm. Many art-world figures fear that museums will continue to monetize their most valuable works with dire consequences for the communities they serve. 

House of One concept in Berlin

Berlin’s latest place of worship will bring Christians, Jews, and Muslims under one roof.

In East Berlin, a new place of worship seeks to bring Christians, Jews, and Muslims under one roof. The House of One will incorporate a church, mosque, and synagogue linked to a central meeting space, and people of other faiths and denominations (or those of no faith) will be invited to attend events anyway. “The idea is pretty simple,” Roland Stolte, a Christian theologian who helped start the project, told The Guardian. “We wanted to build a house of prayer and learning, where these three religions could co-exist while each retaining their own identity. This is not a club for monotheistic religions—we want others to join us.” Designed by Berlin architects Kuehn Malvezzi, the $57 million building will rise on the site of St. Peter’s church in Petriplatz, which was damaged during WWII and demolished in 1964 by GDR authorities. The new interfaith facility has already been dubbed a “churmosquagogue.”

Arturo Di Modica, the artist of Manhattan’s famous Charging Bull sculpture dies at 80. 

Arturo Di Modica, known for sculpting one of the most photogenic works in America, Charging Bull in Lower Manhattan, died after a battle with intestinal cancer at the age of 80. Intended as a present to the country after Black Monday, the day in 1987 the stock market plummeted 20 percent, the Sicilian artist first dropped the 3.5-ton bronze statue near the Stock Exchange illegally in the middle of the night. After paying a fine, Di Modica was allowed to move “Charging Bull” to its current home on a traffic island at the foot of Broadway, where it has drawn millions of tourists. He said at the time that the work symbolized “the future“ and the “strength and determination” of the American people. Di Modica died on Friday at his home in Vittoria, Italy.

An artistic interpretation of the Nyan Cat meme sparks a cryptocurrency bidding war. 

Ten years ago, Chris Torres created Nyan Cat, an animated flying cat with a Pop-Tart body leaving a trail of rainbows. The adorable meme took the internet by storm and has been viewed hundreds of millions of times. Last week, Torres put a one-of-a-kind version of Nyan Cat up for sale on Foundation, a website for selling and buying digital goods. During the sale’s final 60 minutes, a bidding war broke out and Nyan Cat was sold for roughly $580,000 to a user only identified by a cryptocurrency wallet number. The sale marks a new pinnacle in the fast-growing market in the ownership or licensing of digital artworks, ephemera, and media called NFTs or “non-fungible tokens.”

Asbury Beach Club

Asbury Park, New Jersey, is getting a stylish new beach club inspired by sea caves. 

The Jersey Shore will welcome a new beach club outfitted with sandy concrete canopies inspired by sea caves. The project brings together a talented cast: Mexican studios Rojkind Arquitectos, Esrawe Studio, and Cadena Concept Design teamed up with American firms Anda Andrei Design and Slade Architecture on the design. “When water, wind, sand, and rocks interact, they alter the morphology of the earth to create niches, cavities, and semi-open spaces interconnecting land and sea,” said Esrawe Studio. Located in the seaside town of Asbury Park, which has experienced a renaissance in recent years, the club will include an elevated pool deck, restaurant, sleek cabanas, an outdoor sand gym, and public amenities such as showers, changing rooms, and restrooms. 

Tiffany will vacate a giant Trump-owned storefront in Midtown Manhattan next year.

Manhattan has been struggling with empty storefronts due to pandemic-induced declines in tourism and foot traffic. Now, the Trump Organization is facing the difficult prospect of filling a major vacancy: a 74,000-square-foot retail space that occupies the first five floors of 6 E. 57th Street, a stone’s throw from Trump Tower. Tiffany & Co temporarily relocated to the space during renovations of its nearby flagship, but plans to move back next year when the revamp wraps up. Wharton Properties and SL Green Realty, the companies that hold the lease at the Trump building, don’t plan to extend it. 

“Leasing any retail or office space at this point in New York is difficult,” Ruth Colp-Haber, president and CEO of brokerage Wharton Property Advisors, told Crain’s New York. “The building itself, the spaces are really nice. It’s a lot of glass and steel. They’re extremely nice spaces, but for some users there’s definitely a stigma.” That’s putting it nicely: the former president won a mere 12 percent of the Manhattan vote in the 2020 election, and New York City said it would cancel management contracts with the Trump Organization after he was impeached a second time for his role in inciting a deadly riot at the Capitol in January. 

Shahar Livne’s recycled jewelry for Balenciaga

Today’s attractive distractions:

Shahar Livne is turning recycled ocean plastic into Balenciaga jewelry.

Ikea launches new disassembly instructions to help extend product life.

Harry Smith avidly collected paper airplanes from New York City streets.

Minneapolis Institute of Art’s notable works get turned into ice sculptures.

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