New York Ends Contracts With Trump Organization, and Other News

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Wollman Rink in Central Park

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Following the Capitol takeover, New York nixes contracts with the Trump Organization.

In the aftermath of the Trump-kindled insurrection at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, New York City will terminate three profitable concession agreements with the Trump Organization. Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the termination of the city’s management contracts with Trump’s real estate empire worth an estimated $17 million. Situated within city-owned land and city-run parks, the mixture of recreational and entertainment venues include Central Park’s 1908 Michael Friedsam Memorial Carousel, operated by the Trump Organization since 2010; Lasker Rink, operated by the Trump Organization since 1987; Wollman Rink, operated by Trump Organization since 1987 and is part of the same contact as Lasker Rink, and Trump Links Golf at Ferry Point. “The President incited a rebellion against the United States government that killed five people and threatened to derail the constitutional transfer of power,” de Blasio said in a statement issued by his office. “The City of New York will not be associated with those unforgivable acts in any shape, way or form, and we are immediately taking steps to terminate all Trump Organization contracts.”

Climate activist Greta Thunberg stars on Sweden’s new Valuable Nature stamp series.

Greta Thunberg is getting the stamp treatment to honor her work to “preserve Sweden’s unique nature for future generations.” Part of a new series by artist Henning Trollbäck titled Valuable Nature, the Swedish postage stamp features an illustration of the climate activist posing in a yellow raincoat on the edge of a cliff while swifts soar the sky around her. The collection is meant to promote the government’s environmental goals, and who better to reinforce the message than Sweden’s most famous advocate? “We’re pleased that Greta, among several illustrations of important nature, will be symbolized on our stamps,” said PostNord’s Kristina Olofsdotter. “These natural places are very important and we all need to do our part to preserve them.” 

The street artist Futura sues North Face for using his signature motifs without permission.

Throughout his lengthy career, the street artist Futura has lent his signature stylized atom to a number of brand collaborations with Nike, Uniqlo, and Comme des Garçons. Futurelight, a recent line of North Face outerwear, seems to incorporate the motif without his permission. The legendary street artist filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in California Central District Court earlier this week, and is seeking an unspecified amount in damages and calling for the outerwear to be removed from the marketplace. “The similarity of the graphic designs and the names is no coincidence: [North Face] purposefully invoked [Futura] in order to suggest an association with him,” read the artist’s filing. Jeff Gluck, Futura’s lawyer, was more pointed: “The North Face seems like they care a lot about being cool,” he told ArtNet News. “This is probably the most uncool thing they have ever done.”

Atmospheric Wave Wall by Olafur Eliasson. Image courtesy EQ Office

Olafur Eliasson completes a giant art installation at the base of Chicago’s Willis Tower.

Olafur Eliasson has completed an expansive installation that sits at the foot of Chicago’s Willis Tower. The 30-by-60-foot Atmospheric Wave Wall features 1,963 slightly curved powder-coated steel fragments that catch the sunlight and respond to the shadows cast by passersby. The piece will be backlit in the evenings, allowing slivers of light to leak through small spaces between the individual metal tiles. “Inspired by the unpredictable weather that I witnessed stirring up the surface of Lake Michigan, Atmospheric Wave Wall appears to change according to your position and to the time of day and year,” Eliasson said in a release. “It’s my hope that this subtle intervention can make a positive contribution to the building and the local community by reflecting the complex activity all around us, the invisible interactions and minute fluctuations that make up our shared public space.” We expect it to become an extremely popular selfie destination.

New York City reportedly plans to turn vacant retail space into coronavirus testing sites.

New York City may turn empty retail space into coronavirus testing sites, says Real Estate mogul William Rudin. The CEO of Rudin Management spoke to CNBC recently about the Real Estate Board of New York’s ongoing work with the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo to develop the program, which would repurpose the influx of vacant storefronts—a somber hallmark of Covid-19—into rapid testing sites. “[A] person could show the restaurateur … ‘I just got tested 15 minutes ago and I’m good to go.’ This is important for venues,” he says. Together with the continuing rollout of the vaccine, the combination could accelerate New York City’s recovery, Rudin says. “I think you’re going to see a quicker return, hopefully, than is anticipated. There’s a pent-up demand for people to want to come back to work and be with their colleagues and have that collaboration.”

Marian Goodman Gallery is funding research fellowships for BIPOC curators.

Funded by Marian Goodman Gallery and designed by artist Steve McQueen, the program will award two research fellowships with the non-profit Independent Curators International. The award will be given every year for the next three years to U.S. curators who are either BIPOC or of African descent worldwide. The initiative aims to “address the imbalance and injustice that is embedded in the gallery and museum system,” Goodman says. “I hope with all my heart that this initiative can help to bring about a shift. And, of course, I wish that Okwui were still here to guide us.” McQueen also offered his enthusiasm about the first phase of the three-year program: “Okwui was always thinking about the future, always thinking ahead in order to create a healthier environment for all, no matter what the challenges were or what he, as a pioneer, came up against. This initiative is very much in his spirit, championing innovators in a field that he reinvented.” 

Today’s attractive distractions:

Nendo designs a non-inflatable soccer ball for impoverished communities.

The Science Museum spotlights objects in its archive with zero page views.

This nonprofit supports prison abolition through a local ceramics practice.

Archaeologists may have discovered the world’s oldest figurative artwork.


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