A Graveyard for Failed Presidential Campaigns, and Other News

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Nina Katchadourian's "Monument to the Unelected" in Scottsdale, Arizona

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Nina Katchadourian is preparing the latest addition to her installation Monument to the Unelected.

Ever since 2008, the artist Nina Katchadourian has been immortalizing the signage of failed presidential campaigns in a makeshift graveyard. She added the latest piece in 2016 following Donald Trump’s surprise victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, whose campaign joined the likes of unsuccessful nominees Alf Landon, Aaron Burr, and Thomas E. Dewey. While Katchadourian expects a delay before knowing which sign will be the 59th addition to the roster, she says the artwork has taken on new significance during this particularly fraught election cycle. 

“I think it indicates how tense this election is, and how much people have had elections on their mind, as well as the question around the peaceful transition of power following an election,” she told Artnet News. The piece has been installed at art venues such as Pace Gallery in New York and Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, as well as on the lawns of private homes in Scottsdale, AZ, and Madison, WI. The latest addition will be planted by a first-time voter on the Saturday after a winner is declared. 

Preservationists launch a virtual map to save landmarks near Union Square, Manhattan. 

In Manhattan, the area surrounding Union Square has recently become a hotbed for developers demolishing historically significant buildings that played crucial roles in the LGBTQ+ and Civil Rights Movements. The historic preservation group Village Preservation, which has long fought to maintain the architectural and cultural heritage of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo, has launched a virtual map to help save these landmarks from redevelopment. The interactive online tool offers virtual neighborhood tours, allowing users to click on different locations to learn more about their historic significance. 

“It’s really important to understand where we came from in terms of both the discrimination we faced, as well as the obstacles we overcame and who were the key people, organizations, and events that made that possible—a stunning array of which is located in this area south of Union Square,” Andrew Berman, Village Preservation’s executive director, tells Gay City News. He said it took around three years to realize the tool, which was created in response to a push by mayor Bill de Blasio to redevelop the area. “Instead of taking these gorgeous adaptable old buildings and putting new uses into them, we’re just seeing them destroyed,” he said. “That’s why we’re being spurred to act right now.”

Lava Thomas's proposed monument to Maya Angelou outside San Francisco's central library

After political turmoil, Lava Thomas’s rejected memorial for Maya Angelou will see the light.

Last year, tensions heightened in San Francisco when public officials abruptly rejected the winning design for a monument to Maya Angelou by the local artist Lava Thomas. The city supervisor Catherine Stefani reportedly didn’t like the sculpture’s non-figurative elements, prompting a second selection process that began earlier this year. The decision angered many local artists, who criticized how San Francisco chooses public artworks at a time when classical bronze statues of white men were (quite literally) falling out of public favor. 

But after months of activism, Thomas’s proposal—a nine-foot-tall bronze book with Angelou’s portrait on one side and her words on the other—will see the light. She received apologies from San Francisco mayor London Breed and Stefani, who promised to create an advisory committee that would help guide the city’s efforts to diversify its public artworks. “Throughout this process, I’ve tried to uphold the principles of Maya Angelou,” Thomas tells the New York Times. “Black women should get to decide how we’re going to be represented in the public realm, not politicians.”

The ongoing expansion of LAX takes a leap forward and is slated for completion in 2028. 

The never-ending Los Angeles International Airport expansion project has taken a step forward with the announcement that construction on new passenger gates will begin in 2021. A $14 billion capital improvement program is already underway at the overcrowded airport, which includes renovations of existing terminals and a new 12-gate midfield satellite concourse and automated people mover system. Heavy construction of Terminal 9 is set to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2027. The entire expansion project is scheduled to finish by 2028.

Rendering of the Red Sea Project by Kengo Kuma and Associates and Foster + Partners

Saudi Arabia announces another massive tourism development on an archipelago in the Red Sea.

On the heels of the announcement for French architect Jean Nouvel’s groundbreaking biophilic design for a resort in Saudi Arabia comes another chip in the kingdom’s plan to build tourism: a development by Kengo Kuma and Associates and Foster + Partners on an archipelago within the Red Sea. Dubbed the Red Sea Project, the project will span 90 islands between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh on the country’s west coast. Billed as the “world’s most ambitious tourism development,” the project will feature 100 Kuma-designed villas to supplement Foster’s new airport to open in 2022. 

“We were attracted to The Red Sea Development Company as we shared the client’s vision to create a unique luxury tourism destination in the Middle East,” Kuma says. Inspired by the surrounding sand dunes, the overwater “coral villas” will be joined by two restaurants, a community building, and reception pavilion. When the Red Sea Project is finished, in 2030, it’s projected that 22 islands and six inland sites will have been developed. “We’re working on a number of projects in the region, including the state-of-the-art Red Sea International Airport as well as three major luxury developments: the Southern Dunes, located in the mountainous region inland, and Ummahat Al Sheikh and Shurayrah islands, two exclusive island resorts located off the Red Sea coast,” says Foster + Partners head of studio Gerard Evenden. 

David Adjaye and Aston Martin design five residences in his New York skyscraper 130 William.

Shortly after Aston Martin unveiled its first residential design, an angular house designed in collaboration with S3 Architecture in the Hudson Valley, the British carmaker has teamed with David Adjaye to reimagine five units at 130 William, his first New York skyscraper. Differing from the other homes in the 242-unit building, the five residences will be decorated with materials, textiles, and furniture sourced from the Aston Martin Home Collection by the Italian brand Formitalia with input by Adjaye. Each resident will also receive a limited-edition, Adjaye-designed Aston Martin DBX. “The 130 William Aston Martin homes have been touched in a very particular way that merges our design sensibilities,” says Adjaye, who unveiled the 66-floor cast concrete building in 2017. “Together with the SUVs that come with these units, we’ve created a truly unique signature that blends our two disciplines.”

Futuro house by Matti Suuronen

Today’s attractive distractions:

A Japanese tea house creates edible zen gardens with matcha powder.

This jacket features high-tech fabric made out of upcycled coffee grounds.

Two designers create stucco mouldings based on decor used by cam girls.

One of Matti Suuronen’s rare Futuro houses goes on sale in New Zealand.

All Stories