Indigenous Artists Win Big at the Venice Biennale, and Other News

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Mataaho Collective’s “Takapau” installation at the Venice Biennale. Image courtesy of the Venice Biennale

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Indigenous Artists Win Big at the Venice Biennale

At the 60th Venice Biennale, First Nations artist Archie Moore and the Mataaho Collective, comprised of four Māori women, won the top prizes for what the jury described as “quietly powerful” installations. Moore’s work, a meticulous family tree of First Nations people drawn from extensive historical research, earned the Golden Lion for best national pavilion, while the Mataaho Collective’s luminous woven mat installation celebrating Māori textile traditions clinched the Golden Lion for the best participant in the main exhibition. Additional awards included the Silver Lion to British-Nigerian artist Karimah Ashadu for her video work on Lagos motorbike taxi riders and special mentions for visual activism and innovative use of traditional techniques in works by artists from Palestine, Kosovo, and other regions.

Handbag designer Nancy Gonzalez is sentenced to prison for smuggling exotic skins. 

Nancy Gonzalez, a renowned handbag designer known for her use of exotic skins, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for illegally smuggling wildlife products into the U.S. from Colombia. Despite her company’s celebrity acclaim and significant sales through major retailers, Gonzalez failed to secure the necessary import permits for her products, leading to her arrest and subsequent charges. As the luxury fashion industry faces increasing scrutiny over the use of exotic materials, some leading brands have completely halted their use.

The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art. Photography by Francis Dzikowski/OTTO, courtesy of RAMSA

Notre Dame’s Raclin Murphy Museum of Art features stained glass by Mimmo Paladino.

The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects, has opened in South Bend, Indiana. Located within the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park, the 70,000-square-foot neoclassical building aligns aesthetically with its surroundings through a brick and limestone facade, and houses more than 31,000 artworks alongside new commissions from the likes of Surface cover stars Jenny Holzer and Maya Lin and a chapel for reflection with stained glass by Mimmo Paladino. Future plans include building additional galleries and a study center.

Kéré Architecture starts work on a childcare center at Munich’s Technical University. 

Kéré Architecture has started construction on the Ingeborg Pohl Kinderoase, a new vertical childcare center made primarily of wood located at Munich’s Technical University (TUM). Scheduled to open by the end of 2025, the center will provide 7,500 square feet of creative and age-segregated play spaces across five stories for 60 children, featuring unique elements like slides connecting floors and a rooftop play area named Himmelswiese. This environmentally conscious project, undertaken in collaboration with wood construction specialists Hermann Kaufmann + Partner, aims to meet high standards for energy efficiency and sustainability while enhancing the campus environment for TUM’s community.

Douyin, the Chinese counterpart of TikTok, has been courting American fashion labels.

ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is recruiting American brands like Bad Binch TongTong to sell on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, despite potential U.S. restrictions on TikTok itself. Douyin’s e-commerce platform, appealing for its integration with social media marketing strategies such as live streaming, has attracted more than 700 American brands, including Calvin Klein and Fenty Beauty. Amidst economic recovery challenges in China and evolving consumer preferences, Douyin may offer a fertile ground for U.S. brands to engage and sell directly to a vast audience of 600 million users, leveraging live streams and interactive content.

“Nosso Barco Tambor Terra” by Ernesto Neto at MAAT Lisbon. Photography by Joana Linda, courtesy of MAAT and Ernesto Neto

Today’s attractive distractions:

There’s a simple reason why we don’t believe what influencers say in our feeds.

Troye Sivan’s lifestyle brand Tsu Lange Yor will pop up in New York next month.

After two decades of e-commerce, Wayfair enters the bricks-and-mortar game.

Ernesto Neto’s largest installation to date is a cascading, crocheted fabric world.

All Stories