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Rihanna pauses her Fenty line with LVMH while refocusing on Savage x Fenty lingerie.
Less than two years after Rihanna debuted Fenty, her luxury maison backed by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the popstar-turned-designer announced she will pause the label while doubling down on her Savage x Fenty lingerie line that recently secured $115 million in new funding. LVMH confirmed the news with a brief statement: “Rihanna and LVMH have jointly made the decision to put on hold the ready-to-wear activity, based in Europe, pending better conditions.” According to sources, a small staff remains at Fenty’s Paris headquarters to wind down operations, and the e-commerce site will go dark by the end of February.
LVMH plans to concentrate instead on Fenty Beauty, Fenty Skin, and her successful lingerie venture, which experienced 200 percent revenue growth last year alone. The decision may be informed by the coronavirus: lockdown grounded Rihanna in Los Angeles, where her beauty and skin operations are located, but distanced from her fashion venture in Europe. LVMH and Rihanna haven’t ruled out reviving the maison in the future since it attracted repeat customers—predominantly professional, high-net-worth women—in its two-year lifespan, but others remain skeptical. “I have the impression that celebrity-originated brands can be very popular very quickly,” Luca Solca, a luxury goods analyst at Bernstein, tells WWD, “but that their staying power is questionable.”
The Frick Collection will open in Marcel Breuer’s modernist landmark on March 18.
The Frick Collection is preparing to open in the Breuer building as the Frick Madison while its 1914 Gilded Age mansion on Fifth Avenue undergoes renovation. The brutalist Upper East Side building—formerly the site of the Met Breuer and the Whitney Museum of American Art—will open at 25 percent capacity Thursday through Sundays starting on March 18. The permanent collection will be organized chronologically by region across three floors, showcasing works gathered by the industrialist Henry Clay Frick, and featuring paintings and sculptures by Bellini, Goya, Rembrandt, and Velázquez, among others. While specific details have yet to be announced, programming will include the decorative arts, 17th-century Mughal carpets, and Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s series “The Progress of Love,” with the original four panels created for Madame du Barry. Back at home, Annabelle Selldorf’s renovation, which was approved in 2018 after much controversy, is expected to be completed in 2023.
Kéré Architecture shares a palaver tree–inspired design for the National Assembly of Benin.
Initial visuals of the forthcoming National Assembly of Benin have been unveiled by Kéré Architecture, a Berlin-based firm known for its sustainable and cultural work in remote locations. Situated in Porto-Novo, the capital of the West African nation of Benin, the building pays homage to the tradition of gathering under the native tree and is meant to symbolize the country’s current democratic values. The orthogonal structure’s courtyard layout includes loggia-like pavilions, a communal green space, roof terrace, and an assembly hall. “The Benin National Assembly marks an important next step for our studio,” says principal Francis Kéré. “This project gives shape to our ideas about community gathering, the importance of indigenous forms of governance, and what contemporary African architecture can be on a national scale. I’m honored by the trust that has been placed in us, and am grateful that together we can build a new house of democracy for the Republic of Benin.” The project is slated for completion in 2023.
Simone Leigh and six other artists will create works that address the idea of public monuments.
Seven artists were asked to make works on the subject of monumentality for this year’s edition of Prospect New Orleans. The contemporary art triennial, which emphasizes site-specificity and collaborative partnerships, is slated to open in October after being postponed from last fall. A $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation will sponsor the seven works—by Simone Leigh, Adriana Corral, EJ Hill, Glenn Ligon, Dave McKenzie, Anastasia Pelias, and Nari Ward—to be featured in a new curatorial exhibition, “Monuments: A Proposal.” Taking its name from Leigh’s project, it’s meant to provoke thought about the mutability of monuments, something the director of Prospect’s fifth edition, Nick Stillman, hopes the exhibition can do overarchingly.
“Maybe monuments shouldn’t be fixed. Maybe they are things that need to be ephemeral because we’re such a rapidly changing society,” Stillman tells Artnet News. “I don’t think that feeling is going to go away anytime soon.” Full details have yet to be announced, but Stillman disclosed a few hints: Ward will devise a mobile artwork with a police siren, McKenzie plans to build a memorial for his late father, and Hill’s ambitious project repurposes a local ferris wheel for a performance piece.
The Nigerian artist John Amanam is pioneering prosthetic limbs for darker skin tones.
For amputees of color, the reality of living with a limb or body part in an opposite tone to their natural skin is very real. Until recently, the BIPOC community has been almost altogether sidelined by international prosthetics markets that primarily cater to white patients. That is until recently, when the 33-year-old sculptor and former movie special effects artist John Amanam who hails from the Uyo, Nigeria, set out to change this inequality three years ago and quickly became a pioneer in designing hyper-realistic Black prosthesis. Spanning prosthetic hands, fingers, legs, toes, ears, noses, and breasts, his awe-inspiring work was so rare that he was able to file a patent of his innovations in Nigeria last year. Amanam attributes his dedication to his work after his brother lost his hand in an accident, and, at that time, Black prosthetics were not available in Nigeria. “I quickly discovered that I was the only one around making Black prostheses; not only in Nigeria but in the whole region,” he says.
A new initiative aims to increase the percentage of Black real estate agents and homeowners.
A new program aims to diversify the real estate industry, which is fewer than six percent Black and only nine percent Hispanic, compared to nearly 75 percent white. National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) is seeking to change that by launching a new partnership with real estate platform HomeLight to increase the number of Black real estate agents in the United States. The initiative will provide financial and educational support to aspiring agents, with the goal of closing the income and racial gap while increasing Black homeownership rates. “In July 2019, the reported Black American homeownership rate of 40.6 percent hit a historic low in the United States; a Black homeownership rate nearly mirroring the rate at the time of the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968,” says Antoine Thompson, NAREB’s executive director. “In comparison, the rate reported for non-Hispanic White Americans for the same period in 2019 was reported at 73.1 percent—a more than 30 percentage wealth gap.”
The Indian activist Amar Singh will donate $5 million of art by minorities to museums by 2025.
In his short but illustrious career, the activist Amar Singh has already helped legalize homosexuality in India, champion women’s rights through his namesake art gallery, and landed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for his contributions to art and culture. Now, Singh has pledged to donate more than $5 million worth of art by female, LGBTQ+, and other minority artists to museums by 2025. “Museums are safe-keepers of culture and humanity,” Singh tells Vanity Fair, “but the reality is that they’ve historically failed us. They have not represented humanity across the board.” Already backing up his words with actions, Singh recently gave a Mario Berrio painting to LACMA and a portrait of the Inauguration poet Amanda Gorman by the artist Raphael Adjetey Adjey Maybe to the permanent collection of Harvard University’s Hutchins Centre for African & African American Research. Adds Singh: “Art matters and museums need patrons who aren’t just going to donate dots by Damien Hirst.”