The Obama Portraits Embark on a National Tour, and Other News

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Barack and Michelle Obama’s vivid presidential portraits are gearing up for a countrywide tour.

Ever since the presidential portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama (by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively) were first unveiled, in 2018, crowds have flooded the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, to see them firsthand. Now, more Americans will have that chance thanks to a countrywide tour organized by the Smithsonian. First up? The Art Institute of Chicago, where the presidential couple went on their first date. “Because they have been so popular and because they have really redefined portraiture and brought about important discussions around representation, we thought it would be important to share them with the nation and have venues in all different parts of the country,” Dorothy Moss, curator of painting and sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery, told the Chicago Sun-Times. The show runs June 18 through August 15 and will travel to the Brooklyn Museum, LACMA, Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Notre-Dame Cathedral is fundraising millions to help restore and modernize its fire-damaged interior.

The Catholic Diocese of Paris is seeking $7 million to restore the interior of Notre-Dame Cathedral after it was nearly destroyed when a massive fire broke out two years ago. More than $970 million has already been pledged by private donors for the painstaking restoration, which French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to complete by 2024. Michael Aupetit, the Archbishop of Paris, remarked that the goal is “to bring the cathedral into the 21st century, while ensuring the preservation of its identity in the spirit of the Christian tradition.” The funds would be used to update the tour layout for the cathedral’s nearly six million annual visitors, as well as new furniture, lighting, and sound systems.

In Arizona, Habitat for Humanity announces the construction of their first 3D-printed home.

The single-family home in Tempe, Arizona is a test case the organization could use in the future to build homes more efficiently and at a more affordable cost, thus increasing scalability.  Approximately 70–80 percent of the home—which has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a view of Clark Park—will be 3D printed. Besides reducing construction costs, the method has another benefit: “Using the printer would also help Habitat Central Arizona to build during its hottest season, a time when building typically slows since temperatures are too extreme and would put staff and volunteers at risk.” 

Instagram’s @design channel will award $130,000 in grants to emerging Black designers. 

Instagram, the Brooklyn Museum, and a group of esteemed designers recently launched #BlackDesignVisionaries, a new initiative that aims to empower today’s leading Black creatives. The program will award $130,000 in grants—these include three $10,000 Aspiring Designer Grants for Black designers between the ages of 18 and 30 and a $100,000 Small Business Grant for a Black-led design business that’s been in operation for less than ten years. “If we succeed in pushing culture forward and building a more equitable global design community, we’ll be serving not just Black designers but everyone who will benefit from a more diverse representation of design talent shaping our world,” Kristen Joy Watts, a creative director at Instagram, said in a statement. Applications to submit to #BlackDesignVisionaries will be open through July 16; the shortlist, selected by a grant committee that includes Antwaun Sargent, Ruth E. Carter, and Heron Preston, will be announced in the fall.

Washington Prime Group, which owns more than 100 malls across the U.S., files for bankruptcy.

The pandemic continues to wreak havoc on brick-and-mortar retail. Earlier this week, Washington Prime Group—an Ohio company that owns more than 100 malls across the United States—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing pandemic-related shutdowns. “The bankruptcy shows that while things are now getting back to normal, many of the scars left by the pandemic have not fully healed,” Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData, tells CNN. “Strong balance sheets and sound operations are needed to see property companies through this period.”

Isabel Marant’s infamous Ugly Sneaker returns with an even bolder design and bigger heel.

The French fashion designer’s high-heeled “wedge sneaker” became a cultural flashpoint when it was released ten years ago, causing a fierce debate between critics who widely panned the hybrid shoe and celebrities and influencers who caused it to sell out. (At one point there was a six-month waiting list for a pair.) Now a new version has arrived with double the heel height as its predecessor. One thing that’s changed since the original dropped in 2011: chunky sneaker culture has become one of streetwear’s hottest fads.

Dior and Sacai join forces for their first co-branded capsule collection of men’s ready-to-wear.

Sacai designer Chitose Abe and Dior men’s artistic director Kim Jones are teaming up to launch a 57-piece menswear capsule collection of ready-to-wear, bags, and accessories in November. The collaboration between the Japanese luxury brand and the heritage French fashion house, its first co-branded collection, will also feature a custom amalgamated logo with Sacai written in the “i” of Dior.

Today’s attractive distractions:

The New Yorker investigates whether or not Proust had a thing for caged rats.

Samsung gives the obsolete floppy disk save icon a contemporary refresh.

Ikea and Sonos launch an audio speaker that resembles a picture frame.

The Girl Scouts are sitting on a surplus of 15 million unsold cookie boxes.

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