Woo Hannah’s Shirred Fabric Gently Calls Out Ageism, and Other News

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“Milk and Honey 5” (2023), to be shown as part of “The Great Ballroom” by Woo Hannah at Frieze Seoul. Photography by Lee Seungheon, courtesy of the artist

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With Shirred Fabric, Woo Hannah Gently Calls Out Ageism

When visitors to the recently opened second edition of Frieze Seoul aren’t navigating a raucous sea of crowds and booths, they may be getting an up-close-and-personal look at a delicate array of draped fabrics that may stoke a reckoning with their own biases. Suspended from the ceiling of the Coex exhibition center is The Great Ballroom, an installation by local artist Woo Hannah, the inaugural recipient of Frieze Seoul’s Artist Award with Bulgari. Reminiscent of hanging curtains in a ballroom and the frilly dresses worn by lovers in Fragonard paintings, the draped fabrics bring to mind the shape of women’s breasts.

To create the components, Woo constructs the structural shells from fabric and stuffs them with varying amounts of cotton to control the tension, calling to mind taut or wrinkled skin. “I began to understand the fabric as a kind of skin,” Woo says. “Depending on the intensity of the wrinkles formed by the amount of fabric, we can talk about aging.” The inevitability of decay, and our own ageist tendencies, are at the forefront. “There are gazes in mainstream culture that have a tendency to really flatten women,” Woo says, noting how her physical age will soon pass the ideal age for reproduction, and questioning what it means to her. “All living things have a life cycle, and as each being makes its way through, there are different stages of aging. I genuinely think every single one of those stages is so important and beautiful.” —Ryan Waddoups

Ilustration courtesy of California Forever

A group of Silicon Valley investors are planning to build a sustainable city in California.

Flannery Associates, a group of Silicon Valley investors, has unveiled plans to convert 50,000 acres of farmland in Solano County, California, into a sustainable city. The proposed city aims to feature walkable neighborhoods, clean energy, and robust public transport. The secretive land acquisition process, however, has drawn criticism from locals and even attention from the FBI due to the land’s proximity to an Air Force base. State and local officials, including State Senator Bill Dodd and Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy, have expressed concerns over the “shadowy investment group” and are rallying community opposition.

Muyiwa Oki has started his two-year term as RIBA’s youngest and first Black president.

Muyiwa Oki has taken office as the youngest and first Black president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, succeeding Simon Allford. Oki’s election was backed by a grassroots campaign from students and labor groups like Future Architects Front and Architects Climate Action Network. He aims to tackle pressing issues such as the racial pay gap, mental health, and employee empowerment in the architectural industry. Oki will also lead RIBA’s Biennial plan, focusing on decarbonizing the built environment, lowering the cost of living, and creating a more inclusive industry.

Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg

Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg’s art collection will soon go on display in New York City. 

Art collectors Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg will debut their expansive collection in an exhibition called “Making Their Mark,” featuring works from more than 70 significant women artists like Cecily Brown and Judy Chicago. The show will initially be in New York from November to January and will later travel to California’s Berkeley Art Museum and the Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis. Curated by Cecilia Alemani, the exhibition aims to challenge the underrepresentation of women in art and expand the art canon. Shah, originally from Ahmedabad, India, transitioned from a tech career to art collecting in 2008 and has been focusing on women artists since 2014. She will speak about the collection’s impact at the upcoming Armory Show in New York.

Ye Yongqing has been found guilty of plagiarizing fellow artist Christian Silvain’s work.

Chinese artist Ye Yongqing has been ordered by a Beijing court to pay €650,000 ($696,000) to Belgian artist Christian Silvain for plagiarizing 87 pieces of art. The case, which is the largest fine arts settlement in China, concluded that Ye has copied Silvain’s work, including specific motifs and styles, since the 1990s. Silvain was first alerted to the plagiarism by a gallerist in Amsterdam and later took legal action. Ye, who has not had a show since 2018, also sued Silvain for defamation in Belgium, but that case remains unresolved. Despite the hefty fine, Ye has made an estimated $15 million from his art sales, while Silvain’s work has gained popularity in China since the plagiarism accusations.

Richemont creates a new beauty division as it doubles down on high-end fragrance.

Richemont is increasing its stake in the fragrance market by launching its new Laboratoire de Haute Parfumerie et Beauté division, led by Boet Brinkgreve, a former executive at fragrance manufacturer DSM-Firmenich. This move follows similar investments by competitors; Kering recently acquired niche fragrance label Creed for $3.8 billion, and Puig bought artisanal brand Byredo last year. Richemont aims to achieve critical mass in the competitive luxury fragrance sector, with Brinkgreve’s role focused on expanding clientele and meeting market demands.

Image courtesy of McCloy + Muchemwa

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