Southampton Now Requires Vacant Storefronts to Display Art, and Other News

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Priceless by Alice Hope in Southampton

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Southampton, New York, now requires vacant storefronts to display work by local artists.

Empty storefronts have become increasingly common in American cities as the quarantine continues to shutter businesses. To combat this, the village of Southampton, New York, is requiring landlords of storefronts that have sat vacant for one month to mount installations by local artists at no cost. “It’s an amazing way to activate and reclaim space—especially in tons where there’s an offseason,” Alice Hope, an artist who unveiled an installation of chromed coat hangers and shopping tags through the program, told the Wall Street Journal. The new law, which was approved by village trustees in July, not only aims to enliven streetside eyesores, but offer a chance for local artists to profit from the setup by selling their art to passersby. 

Russia will bulldoze hundreds of artist studios in Moscow to make room for development.

The Russian government plans to bulldoze the studios of more than 700 artists to make room for urban development in Moscow. Primarily located in the 1960s “Khrushchyovka” residential buildings scattered around the city, the studios have long been leased out for free by the Moscow Union of Artists as part of a now-obsolete Soviet-era initiative. The affected artists, who have been benefiting from the subsidized space for decades, are now being evicted without substitute workshops being offered by the government. “It’s hard to stomach because we’re not just talking about a few studios here,” Yuri Kurshakov, who works for the MUA, told The Art Newspaper. “Entire clusters will disappear.” Options to rectify the situation seem unpromising—the MUA can only provide one-third of its 7,000 members with workshops, and claims that the government refuses to host meetings due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Yellow Pumpkin (2012) by Yayoi Kusama

A new Town & Country exposé delves into the fraudulent sale of a Yayoi Kusama pumpkin.

Town & Country takes a deep dive into the drama that fascinated the art world last year, art advisor Angela Gulbenkian’s fraudulent sale of Yayoi Kusama’s Yellow Pumpkin (2012) to Hong Kong art dealer Mathieu Ticolat for $1.4 million. Born Angela Ischwang, she married into the renowned culture world family, the Gulbenkians, whose name she used to brandish her credibility and orchestrate one of the biggest frauds in the history of the art market. She is currently awaiting trial in the U.K., scheduled to begin in February, after being arrested in Lisbon this past June. 

The Corning Museum of Glass will exhibit pieces from the Netflix show Blown Away.

Design enthusiasts seeking a binge watch should look no further than Netflix’s Blown Away, a reality competition show in which expert glassblowers race against the clock to create elaborate artworks in hopes of winning prizes such as a residency at the Corning Museum of Glass. To celebrate the second season’s premiere last week, the museum launched an exhibition that showcases one piece from each of the show’s ten contestants, including Esque Studio founder Andi Kovel. As a whole, the show demonstrates how artists respond to the challenges of their medium—and how they push creativity to the limit to overcome them. 

Jay-Z boosts minority-owned cannabis businesses with a $10 million fund for startups.

The rapper is investing in minority-owned cannabis businesses to fortify Black participation in the growing industry. The marijuana sector’s imbalances motivated him: “It’s really unbelievable how that can happen,” said the musician, born Shawn Carter. “We were the ones most negatively affected by the war on drugs, and America has turned around and created a business from it that’s worth billions.” Carter started his $10 million fund with seed money he received as part of a merger, which will support equitable economic opportunities in the marijuana industry for people of color that have been punished more than whites using drugs.

Away luggage

The revolving door continues at Away, whose recently appointed CEO has resigned.

After one year helming luggage brand Away, CEO Stuart Haselden is stepping down. Like most travel-related brands, Away has weathered significant blows during the pandemic with revenue dropping as much as 90 percent at one point, though the company has raised more than $200 million from venture capitalists. The move adds to the brand’s recent instability, which includes the saga of former CEO Steph Korey’s resignation after stories emerged of her mistreatment of employees. (She ended up rejoining Haselden as co-CEO before resigning again in October.) Haselden will be succeeded on an interim basis by co-founder Jen Rubio while an outside firm conducts the search for a permanent successor. 

German arts organizations are investigating how to curb their carbon emissions.

Nearly 20 arts organizations in Germany are participating in a government-sponsored study to figure out how to curb carbon emissions and understand their ecological footprints. Paid for by the Federal Cultural Foundation, the project will announce the results of the study this spring. “In Germany, we have discussed these matters for years, but real action has been slow,” said Marion Ackermann, general director of the Dresden State Collections. “This current [health] crisis has been a great chance to push the reset button on our strategies.”

Lucienne Rickard

Today’s attractive distractions:

The teacher who knit Bernie Sanders’ mittens receives a flood of inquiries.

Fun, neotenic furniture that elicits happiness will be on the rise in 2021.

One artist draws detailed sketches of lost species—only to erase them.

This new dating app eschews images for a personality-based approach.

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