Instagram Houseplant Craze Fueling African Succulent Poaching, and Other News

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A flowering Euphorbia candelabrum. Photography by Wolfgang Kaehler

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The social media houseplant craze is fueling major succulent poaching across Africa.

Illegal succulent poaching linked to social media trends are threatening rare African plant species with extinction. Botanists claim that foreign criminals are exploiting South African and Kenyan people to dig up rare African plant species to supply skyrocketing demand for houseplants across Europe, Asia, and North America. “People want these wild plants which can grow for up to 100 years,” Dr. Cornelia Klak, from the department of biological sciences at the University of Cape Town, tells the Telegraph. “They are cleaning out the populations, including all the very, very old plants. This is the tragedy; they’re not just picking off the seeds.” The succulents to avoid: conophytum, anacampseros, argyroderma, and euphorbia nesemannii.

A major scientific report finds that the devastating impacts of climate change are inevitable. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of scientists convened by the UN, recently released a major new report that outlines the bleak effects of climate change over the next three decades. Its most extreme finding? Nations can no longer stop global warming from intensifying, though there’s still a brief window to prevent the most harrowing outcome. 

Humans have already heated the planet by roughly two degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century, mostly from burning fossil fuels, with wide-ranging consequences such as blistering heat waves, devastating floods, and out-of-control wildfires around the world. Even if we sharply cut emissions starting today, global warming is likely to rise around 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades, leading to life-threatening heat waves, severe droughts, and the mass extinction of coral reefs. Preventing the worst outcome will require a coordinated effort among countries to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2050, which would entail immediate shifts away from fossil fuels and removing vast amounts of carbon from the air. 

The revised Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot revise the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre.

After receiving feedback from the Aboriginal Reference Group, the architecture firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Woods Bagot have revised their design for the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre in Adelaide, Australia. The two firms submitted their plans to the State Commission Assessment Panel, moving one step closer to construction. “Through deeper and wider engagement via the Aboriginal Reference Group, our design speaks to and embraces Aboriginal shared values and references forms found in Aboriginal art and cultures,” DS+R partner Charles Renfro said in a statement. “Wholly connected to the landscape, the design embeds the lower ground level into the site and includes an outdoor gallery cantilevered over the terraced landscape.” Construction is expected to kick off later this year with an opening scheduled for 2025.

Snøhetta officially breaks ground on an expansion for Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum.

Endowed by the late widow George Joslyn in 1931, the Joslyn Art Museum enlisted Oslo-based architecture firm Snøhetta to revamp its structure and programming by mid-2024. The cultural landmark will undergo a one-third expansion in gallery space along with a reprogrammed entry sequence and landscape overhaul. Known for its Art Deco exterior, the original structure by John and Alan McDonald is being refashioned with a curvilinear facade that renders generous daylit galleries complemented by classrooms and communal spaces. Snøhetta director and architect Kate Larsen comments that the newly reimagined structure strives to “create a beautiful and welcoming new front door to the museum, inviting in many generations to come.”

A new Banksy mural in East Anglia, England. Photography by Justin Tallis/Getty Images

Another piece of street art in Banksy’s distinctive style appears overnight in England.

The secretive graffiti artist Banksy is speculated to have branded portions of England with new murals overnight. It follows the submission of a joint bid by Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, and Lowestoft in an effort to become the subsequent UK City of Culture in 2025. Spotted in multiple locations in East Anglia are rat motifs and figures of children in an apocalyptic display, wreaking havoc on the sidewalks and bathrooms of London. Although the art is unauthenticated by Banksy himself, they are signature moves from Banksy’s playbook.

Tate may lose its collection of Francis Bacon sketches if it doesn’t exhibit them soon.

The donor Barry Joule is threatening to withdraw his donation of more than 1,200 sketches, photographs, and documents by the British artist Francis Bacon to Tate after nearly two decades. Joule, a longtime friend of Bacon, claims that his dispute lies in the museum’s reneging promise to stage an exhibition of the works, which are valued at nearly $30 million. Although the gallery did feature some of Bacon’s pieces, it didn’t do justice to the collection as Joule envisioned. The donor set an ultimatum for October 2021, warning that if the spirit of the contract is not upheld, “the matter may ultimately be decided in the courts.”  

A Florida public art show unravels after a mayor accuses two artists as being Communists.

The “Illuminate Coral Gables” public art show has been mired in controversy after Vince Lago, mayor of the Florida city, denounced two of the participating artists as communists. Sandra Ramos and Cai Guo-Qiang were pressured to resign from the roster following scrutiny on the pretext of being too sympathetic to the political regimes of their respective home countries Cuba and China. The board commented that the show had “been postponed due to extenuating circumstances beyond our control” while chief curator Lance Fung quickly resigned over the censorship of his work. “The art world brings an opportunity to this community for dialogue,” says Lago. “Where my dialogue ends is people who sympathize with oppression, tyranny.”

Kid Pix

Today’s attractive distractions:

Fueled by Gen Z, text-heavy memes have been quickly taking over Instagram.

Take a trip back to the ‘90s with painting software Kid Pix’s brand-new web app.

Ikea uses its popular illustrations to show buyers how to repurpose old furniture.

Evidence suggests that Babylonians discovered trigonometry before the Greeks.

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