Minneapolis Is Clearing Out George Floyd Square, and Other News

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

Memorials at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis. Photography by Carlos Gonzalez/AP

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Minneapolis city officials are removing protest art and memorials at George Floyd Square.

On June 3, Minneapolis city workers attempted to remove the flowers, artwork, and other makeshift memorials from George Floyd Square, where the 46-year-old Black man was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin last summer. According to city spokesperson Sarah McKenzie, Minneapolis will transition the memorial to open up the long-closed intersection. “This is a community-led reconnection process with the City supporting efforts to reopen the intersection while preserving artworks and memorials to George Floyd,” she told the Washington Post

In an open letter, Kara Walker, Nan Goldin, and other artists voice solidarity with Palestine. 

More than 16,000 artists around the world including Kara Walker, Nan Goldin, and Simone Leigh have signed a “Letter Against Apartheid” denouncing Israeli violence against Palestinians. A collective of six Palestinian artists originally drafted the open letter, which reads “This is not a conflict this is apartheid” and calls for an end to the “support provided by global powers to Israel and its military,” specifically calling out the U.S.’s annual $3.8 billion support to Israrel without condition. It further reads: “We ask you to come forward, speak up, and take a clear public stand against this ongoing injustice in Palestine.” 

Safdie Architects proposes a massive development that may transform downtown Toronto.

Safdie Architects has unveiled a proposal for ORCA Toronto, a mixed-use development that weaves together surrounding neighborhoods downtown with a vibrant multi-level public park designed in collaboration with PWP Landscape Architecture. Also situated within the 16.5-acre site, which sits immediately west of the CN Tower, is a configuration of eight porous residential towers connected by elevated bridges. “Our design aspires to forge a reconnection in the community fabric by creating a lively park that’s economically viable and promises a unique destination experience for Toronto,” founder Moshe Safdie said in a statement. 

The Museum of Arts and Design names educator Timothy Rodgers as its new director. 

Timothy Rodgers has been named the new Nanette L. Laitman director of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) effective September 15. Prior to joining MAD, Rodgers served as director of the Wolfsonian-Florida International Museum in Miami and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and vice president of the Scottsdale Cultural Council. “[Tim] clearly understands and has demonstrated his ability to realize the critical cultural, educational, and civic roles that museums play in their communities,” board chair Michele Cohen said in a statement. 

Tate Britain faces controversy over problematic sections of its restaurant’s Rex Whistler mural.

Tate Britain is in a bind over whether or not to remove problematic sections of a Rex Whistler mural that covers the walls of its upscale basement restaurant. The mural, called “The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats,” features hunting parties riding through landscapes of soaring mountains, gardens, and castles. One section, however, shows a white woman dragging a struggling Black boy by a rope; another shows a Black boy running to keep up behind a horse-drawn cart. Images of the mural circulated on social media last year, with artists and activists demanding its removal. Tate can’t legally alter the mural, which qualifies as artwork in a building protected under British heritage laws. Though the museum has promised a formal review of the work’s future to begin this summer and conclude by year’s end, activists are demanding more immediate action. 

Harvard Graduate School of Design announces The Loeb Fellowship’s incoming class of 2022. 

Each year, Harvard Graduate School of Design names a cohort of ten innovators working across urbanism, public art, media, technology, and real estate to the Loeb Fellowship. The program includes a one-year residency on campus, where fellows can research, audit courses, convene workshops, and participate in panels and conferences. The Loeb Fellowship’s incoming Class of 2022 includes Veyon Bahl, Karen Dawn Blondel, Andrea Bolnick, Stephanie Hankey, Will Hunter, Mpho Matsipa, Monica Rhodes, Moddie Turay, Michael Uwemedimo, and Jordan Weber.

Today’s attractive distractions:

Hou de Sousa suspends 1,000 luminous neon triangles over Beacon Park in Detroit. 

Sophie Prestigiacomo fashions eerily figurative sculptures using mud and algae.

In Los Angeles, an ambitious new in-person show aims to reignite the design sphere.

New York’s latest niche museum will celebrate the city’s inimitable nightlife legacy.

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