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The Guardian

Jul 21 2019
How to spot an architectural carbuncle
After a week in which Norman Foster’s ‘Tulip’ tower planned for London was culled, a book on the aesthetics of ugly buildings is timely

Seared into architectural folk memory is the time in 1984 when Prince Charles went off piste at a dinner to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects and laid into what he saw as the “ugliness” of modern architecture. It became known as the Carbuncle Speech, predicated on his description of the winning proposal for the National Gallery extension as “a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”. For its time, it was an unprecedented broadside and establishment sphincters duly clenched. The National Gallery hastily backtracked and ended up commissioning a lukewarm piece of postmodernism by the American partnership of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, while the architects of the carbuncle, Ahrends, Burton and Koralek, were stigmatised by royal disapproval and their practice suffered.

The carbuncle debacle marked a turning point in the relationship between the profession and the public. Seen, somewhat incredibly, as speaking for “ordinary people”, who were fed up with architects and their highfalutin ways, Prince Charles and his views were given further exposure through the fawning conduits of television programmes, books and his own magazine. A school of architecture was also established to disseminate the prince’s principles, and these ultimately coalesced in the form of Poundbury, the Dorset toytown that attempts to elide the modern world through its embrace of glutinous historical pastiche. Today, permanently cemented in the public mind with ugly architecture, the prince’s pustular epithet lives on, appropriated by the Carbuncle Cup, an annual jokey award for Britain’s worst building staged by the trade publication Building Design.

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The Guardian

Jul 21 2019
Helene Schjerfbeck review – a strange and silent beauty
Royal Academy of Arts, London
A retrospective of a Finnish national treasure celebrates a painter of great subtlety and a master of the self-portrait

It would be hard to think of a more overdue subject for a show than the Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946). Of all the Nordic artists exhibited here of late – from Christian Købke and Vilhelm Hammershøi to Per Kirkeby and Olafur Eliasson – Schjerfbeck is undoubtedly the least known in Britain. This is mainly to do with the fact that almost all of her work remains in Finland, where it is greatly revered, but still the oversight seems inexplicable. For this is an art of peculiar beauty.

Quiet people in silent rooms, their thoughts very nearly withheld: that was her lifelong subject. A woman with eyes downcast, contained in her private emotions and the silvery glow of Schjerfbeck’s paint. A mother with her back turned to the viewer, the infant on her shoulder looking warily at us out of the shadows. A schoolgirl with thin pigtails and outsize shoes standing upright in her long black pinafore, a picture of obedience yet also shy courage, her spirit dignified by the painting.

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The Guardian

Jul 20 2019
The big picture: capturing the essence of India’s endangered Khasi people

Aishwarya Arumbakkam’s Ka Dingiei series is inspired by the beliefs of an ancient Indian community

In the Indian state of Meghalaya – meaning “abode of the clouds” in Sanskrit – a small village sits near the border with Bangladesh. Lama Punji is home to 40 families from the Khasi indigenous ethnic group, whose use of the land and its resources is based on a traditional system of unwritten laws. But since 1998, the north-eastern region’s protected forests have been subject to large-scale destruction because of stone and sand mining. Unfavourable government policies, corporate might and legal loopholes have left the Khasi families powerless to resist the quarrying.

Photographer and film-maker Aishwarya Arumbakkam first visited Lama Punji in 2015 and has since been documenting the effect of mining on the village and its people in her ongoing series Ka Dingiei. Rather than taking a documentary approach, Arumbakkam’s lyrical and allegorical style is inspired by an ancient Khasi belief that nature is intrinsically linked to the divine, and destroying it could sever these ties.

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The Guardian

Jul 20 2019
Whitney artists withdraw over board member's ties to teargas company
  • Warren Kanders linked to military supplies firm Safariland
  • Seven artists say participation in Whitney Biennial ‘untenable’

Seven artists have removed their work from the 2019 Whitney Biennial, citing the New York museum’s lack of response to calls for the resignation of a board member with ties to trade in law enforcement supplies.

Related: The big picture: 'Without photography, I wouldn't be here'

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The New York Times

Jul 20 2019
Eight Artists Withdraw From Whitney Biennial Over Board Member’s Ties to Tear Gas
Eight Artists Withdraw From Whitney Biennial Over Board Member’s Ties to Tear Gas
The artists cited the museum’s “inertia” over calls to remove Warren B. Kanders.
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The New York Times

Jul 20 2019
The Week in Arts: Lalah Hathaway, Clay Play and ‘Douglas’
The Week in Arts: Lalah Hathaway, Clay Play and ‘Douglas’
Burt Lancaster is celebrated nearly 40 different ways; “Mum” crosses the pond; and a fierce, fiddling Finn, Pekka Kuusisto, comes to town.
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The Guardian

Jul 20 2019
'It's a huge job': a peek inside Parliament House’s private, prized art stash

There is a strict pecking order – PM gets first pick – but the director of this coveted collection tries to keep everybody happy

Deep in the basement of Parliament House, Justine van Mourik flits between racks of paintings, marble busts and giant colonial portraits.

Van Mourik’s attention jumps from one piece to the next in the vast art collection that she oversees for the Department of Parliamentary Services, each piece sparking its own story.

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The New York Times

Jul 20 2019
Hitler Looted the Art, Then They Looted Hitler
Hitler Looted the Art, Then They Looted Hitler
New research is helping the hunt for missing art, largely amassed by Hitler, then re-stolen by desperate Germans in the closing days of the war.
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The Guardian

Jul 20 2019
César Pelli, architect behind the Petronas Towers, dies at 92

The Argentinian-American architect designed some of the world’s tallest buildings

The architect César Pelli, who designed some of the world’s tallest and best-known buildings, has died. He was 92.

Anibal Bellomio, a senior associate architect at Pelli’s studio in Connecticut, confirmed that the Argentinian-born American citizen died peacefully on Friday at his home in New Haven.

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The Guardian

Jul 20 2019
Messing about on the Seine – in pictures

An accidental photograph taken on a bridge began Adrian Skenderovic’s fascination with the boats on the Seine. Over four years, the Paris-based photographer has returned to the same spot more than 50 times to capture scenes on passing boats for his series Down the River. “Seeing human life from on top is like observing ants,” he says. “The bird’s-eye view gave me a distant perspective on human behaviour.” Skenderovic loves that there’s something for everyone on the Seine. “The bigger boats pack in the tourists, medium ones also host parties and weddings, then every now and again a yacht with Jacuzzi and champagne makes an appearance.”

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The Guardian

Jul 20 2019
Fantastique beasts: cult art from the Lalannes’ private collection to go on sale
Surreal works from the home of François-Xavier Lalanne and his wife Claude expected to fetch up to £20m

For years, a giant brass and Sèvres porcelain grasshopper that could, if needed, double as a wine-cooler sat outside the royal apartments at Windsor Castle; a gift from French president Georges Pompidou to the Duke of Edinburgh during a state visit to France in 1972.

Across the Channel, an hour from Paris, the home of its late creator François-Xavier Lalanne and his artist wife Claude is full of such wonderful and whimsical creatures: a huge rhinoceros that transforms into a desk; a bronze cabbage on chicken legs; a herd of sheep that can be sat on, tables of enormous ginkgo leaves.

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The Guardian

Jul 20 2019
The 20 photographs of the week

Black Lives Matter protests, Tropical Storm Barry, demonstrations in Puerto Rico and the Tour de France – the last seven days, as captured by the world’s best photojournalists.

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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
Plastic Emotions by Shiromi Pinto review – an architectural romance

The richly imagined story of an affair between Le Corbusier and Sri Lanka’s first modernist architect, Minnette de Silva

There’s an air of romance to nearly all the places Shiromi Pinto describes in Plastic Emotions, her novel about a love affair between two great 20th-century architects. Some of those places are tropical and alluring. In Sri Lanka, we head to Kandy with its verdant hills, and then Colombo with its chattering bourgeoisie. In India, Pinto takes us to Chandigarh and its elegantly experimental modernist buildings. Even in Paris and London, we are surrounded by the glamour of bohemians and their postwar parties. But it’s in the mildly prosaic confines of a conference in Bridgwater, Somerset, that the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier seems first to have collided with a Sri Lankan architect called Minnette de Silva.

It’s there that the illustrious Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne descended in 1947 for a conference. The delegates included the modernist architects Walter Gropius and Ernö Goldfinger. A photograph of the attendees shows Le Corbusier bespectacled and bow-tied at one end of the front row, and the young, bird-like De Silva in a sari, seated further along. If they seem an unlikely couple, a more candid photo seems to capture something of their mutual interest. They are mid-conversation: he is talking, smart hat perched on his head, a coat casually slung on his arm, while she clutches papers close to her chest, the tail of her sari wound over her hair in the traditional way. She gazes at him intently.

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The New York Times

Jul 19 2019
When You Display Ai Weiwei, Beware of Cats
When You Display Ai Weiwei, Beware of Cats
For the sake of their collection, Trey and Jenny Laird had to crawl around to retrieve hundreds of pieces of a tabletop work upset by a pet.
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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
Invasion of the Styrofoam monster: the sculpture startling shoppers in Wakefield

It looks like a space traveller and it’s just landed in Yorkshire. Huma Bhabha reveals how she sculpted her creation into life with cork and polystyrene

She has commanded the rooftop of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, and has exported her distressed sculptures around the world, but only now is the UK waking up to the work of Huma Bhabha. It’s not the first time she has been late to the party. “It took me a long time to get any recognition at all,” says the artist, who was into her 40s before she made her first sale. “But, when you get recognition much later, you have a lot of time to do whatever the hell you want, which leads to a better understanding of what your work is.”

In the Yorkshire city of Wakefield, the destination for her first commissioned installation in the UK, shoppers seemed a little unsure what to make of the strange humanoid figure that is currently occupying of a stretch of pavement between the town hall and a first world war memorial. And it’s true that the two-tone bronze statue, commissioned as a centrepiece of the Yorkshire Sculpture International, looks oddly tentative, as if it has been beamed in from some intergalactic battlefield in an episode of Doctor Who and can’t quite believe where it has landed.

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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
Karen Welman obituary

My wife, Karen Welman, who has died of a heart attack aged 59 (fulfilling her often joked-about ambition to avoid reaching 60), was a designer and innovator with a formidable creative spirit and vision.

She started her design career at Michael Peters and Partners in London, and that was where, in 1984, I met, worked with and, ultimately, fell in love with her. Together we helped to establish the agency’s US office in New York in 1989; it was later to become Sterling Design, a new brand of design agency that Karen and I also helped to launch. She was a creative maverick who seemed to cause fun and mayhem with whatever she did – all in a beautiful, unique style that I called “predictably unpredictable”.

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The New York Times

Jul 19 2019
Louvre Removes Sackler Family Name From Its Walls
Louvre Removes Sackler Family Name From Its Walls
Signs and plaques honoring a donation from the family, which has been linked to the opioid crisis in the United States, were taken down or covered at the Paris museum.
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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
London officials ban segregated play areas in future housing developments

Exclusive: Move follows Guardian report that social tenants were being banned from using facilities

Segregated play spaces are to be banned in all future London housing developments, the Greater London Authority (GLA) has revealed this week.

The policy, part of the London Plan for developers and local authorities across the city, follows outrage across the political spectrum at the case of the Lilian Baylis estate in Kennington. Guardian Cities reported that families living in the social housing side of the estate were not allowed to use the play area or any communal spaces on the development.

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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
The pioneering female photographer Ida Wyman – in pictures

The US documentarian has died aged 93. A member of the influential Photo League cooperative in New York, she believed that ‘photos could be used to effect change’. At a time when few women pursued a career in the industry, she worked on photo essays and film sets and was a regular contributor to Life

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The New York Times

Jul 19 2019
Beat the Heat With These 10 Must-See Art Shows
Beat the Heat With These 10 Must-See Art Shows
Find a cool reprieve — and endless stimulation — at these exhibitions in New York City.
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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
Buy a classic Guardian photograph: children playing in fountains, London, 2009

This week in our Guardian Print Shop series we have an image shot by Sarah Lee on a hot day at London’s Southbank Centre in 2009

The Guardian photographer Sarah Lee captured this joyful scene at London’s Southbank Centre during a hot spell in August 2009. The temporary fountains bubbled low and then would shoot up high, leading to lots of squeals, she recalls. “The water formed a cage around the edge, which meant the two children in the foreground were only being sprayed; the kids in the centre, where the water was breaking, got soaked.” The abstract effect was deliberate: the spray, the jets, the silhouetted figures could be anywhere, says Lee, who was inspired by a 1930 picture by the photojournalist Martin Munkacsi: Boys Running Into the Surf at Lake Tanganyika. Lee likes to get close to her subjects which, in this case, led to a proper drenching.

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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
Party in Pompeii, Da Vinci drawings and the Bauhaus for ever – the week in art

The dying hours of Pompeii, Leonardo’s life in drawings, a Bauhaus celebration and the best of the Edinburgh art festival – all in your weekly dispatch

David Batchelor
This fine artist of colour celebrates the centenary of the Bauhaus in his own idiosyncratic way.
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, 25 July to 25 August.

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The New York Times

Jul 19 2019
What to Do in New York This Weekend
What to Do in New York This Weekend
“The Lion King” remake, the Apollo 11 anniversary and more: Here’s your guide to the weekend in culture.
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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
Peter Saville’s Blue Monday: a design prophecy

The English graphic designer began to explore computer-led design in the early 80s

Blue Monday in 1983 was the first single to establish New Order as a force, after the death of Ian Curtis had ended the band’s previous incarnation as Joy Division. To match their new synth sound, Peter Saville created this groundbreaking sleeve.

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The Guardian

Jul 19 2019
Loadsamoney! Bank of England: 325 Years, 325 Objects – review

Bank of England, London
Counterfeit notes from Germany, a nuclear attack calculator and lots of bank bills … our economics editor invests in the Bank of England’s anniversary show

By its nature, the Bank of England is a sober and slightly forbidding institution. It sets interest rates, it polices the City to make sure there is no repeat of the 2008 financial meltdown, it is responsible for supplying banknotes, and it has tons of gold stashed away in the vaults. All, for centuries past, in as unobtrusive a way as possible. Before he became governor, Mervyn King once said that he wanted decisions over the cost of borrowing to be as boring as possible.

All of which is fine if you want to get on with things with minimum fuss. It is more of a challenge if you are trying to open yourself up and put on an exhibition highlighting the Bank’s many faces down the years.

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The New York Times

Jul 18 2019
‘Mundos Alternos,’ Where Other Worlds Come to Life
Science fiction illuminates reality by imagining the unreal in a mind-bending show at the Queens Museum.
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The New York Times

Jul 18 2019
New York Galleries: What to See Right Now
Joseph Elmer Yoakum’s delirious vistas; Olga Balema’s discreet sculptures; and a 12-artist show, “Just Painting,” rich with visual echoes.
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The New York Times

Jul 18 2019
Apollo 11 Anniversary: How to Celebrate This Weekend
Apollo 11 Anniversary: How to Celebrate This Weekend
Around New York, all roads lead to the moon: Here’s a roundup of events honoring the small steps and giant leaps that made the mission possible.
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The New York Times

Jul 18 2019
Storied Russian Miniatures Dwindling in Face of Icon Revival
Storied Russian Miniatures Dwindling in Face of Icon Revival
Russian miniatures — boxes painted with elaborate fairy tales — once replaced the holy icons banned by the Soviets, but now history is reversing itself.
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The New York Times

Jul 18 2019
28 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend
Our guide to new art shows and some that will be closing soon.
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The New York Times

Jul 18 2019
Pharrell Williams Discovers His Inner Child in a Gun-Filled Manga World
Pharrell Williams Discovers His Inner Child in a Gun-Filled Manga World
The singer, producer and entrepreneur has curated a show in Paris of work by the Japanese artist Mr.
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The Guardian

Jul 18 2019
Sadiq Khan has rejected the Tulip. But that won’t save London’s skyline | Simon Jenkins

The mayor has been as bad as Boris Johnson in bowing down to speculators. If only his interest in design had kicked in sooner

Tulipmania is no more. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has rejected Norman Foster’s 1,000ft “Tulip” for the City of London, crowning an unhappy week for the architect. On the same day, his obsession with “iconic” edifices hit a wall in Paris, where his gigantic twin towers at La Défense were rejected. Khan for once agreed with Historic England and others that the Tulip was just “a lift shaft with a bulge on top” – a bulge with unpleasant blisters on its side. He did not like it at all.

Related: 'Tulip' tower project in City of London vetoed by Sadiq Khan

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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
From Rio to Siberia: Evangelia Kranioti's world of lost souls – in pictures

Ship fumigators crossing the Bering Sea, Asian maids trapped in Lebanon – the Greek artist and film-maker puts marginalised figures from all over the world at the centre of her powerful work

• Evangelia Kranioti’s The Living, the Dead and Those at Sea is at Arles photography festival until 22 September

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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
'Forgotten by society' – how Chinese migrants built the transcontinental railroad

In a new exhibition, the overlooked contribution of Chinese workers is being brought to the light for the 150th anniversary of the railroad’s completion

When one thinks of the transcontinental railroad, rarely do Chinese migrants come to mind. But in a new exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, a vital revision is presented.

Until spring 2020, Forgotten Workers: Chinese Migrants and the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad peels back the layers to see who else should be commemorated during the recent 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad’s completion – an achievement which has typically been celebrated with photos of old locomotives, successful-looking men in suits and anonymous workers hammering away.

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The New York Times

Jul 17 2019
Angered by This Roosevelt Statue? A Museum Wants Visitors to Weigh In
Angered by This Roosevelt Statue? A Museum Wants Visitors to Weigh In
Conversation about monuments has reached a fever pitch, and the city was split on this one. The American Museum of Natural History is opening an exhibition on it.
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The New York Times

Jul 17 2019
A Museum Show for the Spies of Tomorrow
A British intelligence agency is celebrating its 100th anniversary with an exhibition in London that it hopes will attract recruits.
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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
Has Brexit saved the Lib Dems?

The Lib Dems have made an extraordinary comeback in 2019 because of their anti-Brexit stance. The Observer political editor, Toby Helm, discusses whether the party is here to stay. And: Oliver Wainwright on the inclusion of social housing in this year’s Stirling architecture prize

The Liberal Democrats have spent most of this decade paying the electoral price for the coalition of 2010-15. The party plummeted from 57 MPs to a mere eight. Under Tim Farron and Vince Cable, the party was no longer preparing for government, but for possible extinction. Yet Brexit, along with Tory and Labour divisions on the issue, has driven a Lib Dem revival.

Toby Helm, the Observer political editor, discusses with Anushka Asthana the rise and fall and rise again of the Liberal Democrat party. Next week, the Lib Dems will also choose a new leader. Toby and Anushka discuss the candidate options of Jo Swinson and Ed Davey and how they can capitalise on this wave of remainer support.

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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
Stirling prize 2019 shortlist: from a cork creation to a Teletubbies-style whisky distillery

Energy efficiency is a priority this year as a railway station, visitor centre, social housing project and opera house vie for the RIBA award for British building of the year

A house made of cork will go up against a whisky distillery and one of the busiest stations in the UK to be named building of the year in the most interesting and varied Stirling prize shortlist for some time. They are joined on the list, which celebrates innovation in British architecture, by a new visitor centre for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, an opera house inserted into a 17th-century stable block in Leicestershire and an exemplary development of low-energy council housing in Norwich.

Energy efficiency rightfully looms large on this years’s list, following the recent launch of Architects Declare, a call to arms from a large group of previous Stirling prize winners for an urgent “paradigm shift” to ditch carbon-hungry practices. The Cork House in Berkshire, designed by Matthew Barnett Howland with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton, offers one such alternative. Built from expanded cork blocks, made using waste from the cork stopper industry, the structure is carbon negative and will emit next to zero carbon over its lifespan; it is also designed for disassembly and reuse. The exposed cork walls and engineered timber create a cosy interior space that feels burrowed from the ground, lit from above by a row of funnel-shaped roof lights. It was described by RIBA judges as “a noble, momentous model to aspire to”, and its innovations could be scaled up.

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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
London bridges go LED as part of £45m longest artwork project

Displays by US artist Leo Villareal replace usual lighting on four spans across Thames

Four London bridges have been illuminated in what is the first phase of a £45m project to create the longest artwork in the world.

London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium bridges had their municipal lighting replaced with dynamic – possibly soothing – LED displays created by the US artist Leo Villareal.

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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
Frida Kahlo makeup kit launched with palette to recreate artist's famed brow
  • Frida Kahlo Foundation partners with US retailer Ultra
  • Foundation wants women to ‘embrace their own unique beauty’

The Frida Kahlo Foundation is partnering with the US cosmetics retailer Ultra Beauty to launch a line of makeup inspired by the Mexican artist.

The line includes an “eyebrow palette” that could be used to reproduce the well-known unibrow that Kahlo herself confidently showed in self-portraits.

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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
Zack Seckler's best photograph: wild Iceland from the air

‘The pilot flew me around the volcanic coast in his tiny homemade plane – with the door open and me hanging out taking pictures’

I shot this off the southern coast of Iceland, from a ultra-light aircraft, in the days before drones were ubiquitous. I love the stark nature of the Icelandic landscape and its contrasts. Deltas form from glacial meltwater running down towards the shoreline, picking up silt and different materials along the way to create these ribbon patterns. There’s all sorts of wildlife too – birds, beautiful wild horses, seals.

So a few years ago after a lot of research, cross-referencing Google Earth with books and photography by others, I took a red eye from New York to Reykjavik. It was kind of funny to take a jumbo jet, have three hours upon landing to rent a car, check into my hotel and nap for 20 minutes and then turn around to meet a pilot and spend the day up in the air again in his homemade plane.

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The New York Times

Jul 17 2019
Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.
Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.
Bob Ross painted more than 1,000 landscapes for his television show — so why are they so hard to find? We solve one of the internet’s favorite little mysteries.
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artforum.com

Jul 17 2019
Following P.A.I.N. Protest in Paris, Louvre Removes Sackler Name
Following |https://www.artforum.com/news/nan-goldin-leads-action-at-louvre-in-first-sackler-protest-in-europe-80191|Nan Goldin and the activist group P.A.I.N.’s first protest in Europe| against the
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artforum.com

Jul 17 2019
Warren Niesluchowski (1946–2019)
IN EARLY MAY I started to receive emails from friends who were at the professional viewing days for the Venice Biennale. No, they weren’t wondering where I was, why I wasn’t there. They were asking,
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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
Tattoos, tans and techno: the photographers capturing the unseen Beirut

Ravers, semi-naked sun-worshippers, booming queer culture … we meet the photographers chronicling a new generation of Lebanese shaking off the trauma of civil war

‘Parties are a privileged place, a space for exploration, a time for fusion,” says photographer Cha Gonzalez. They’re also the focus of her series Abandon, which looks at the way some Lebanese people have used nightlife – and techno music in particular – as a release after the trauma of the country’s 15-year civil war, which ended in 1990. “I knew a lot of people who were either born during the war or in exile,” she says. “What was put aside during the day came to light – and their internal struggles surfaced.”

Abandon is a pertinent theme not only for Gonzalez, but for all of the 16 contributors to an exhibition in Paris called C’est Beyrouth (This Is Beirut), at the Institut des Cultures d’Islam. Gonzalez in particular seized on the city’s dance scene, and later continued the series in Paris, where she lives, because “there was something to say about countries that are very far from war as well. The war is inside us: how we feel useless, alone, bored, guilty, horny.”

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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
‘The city has changed beyond all recognition': Derelict London – in pictures

Paul Talling photographs the land of long-forgotten tube stations, burnt-out mansions and gently decaying factories

Derelict London, all new edition, is published by Penguin Random House

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The Guardian

Jul 17 2019
Helene Schjerfbeck review – a chilling blast of Nordic noir

Royal Academy, London
The Finnish painter’s early work shows ability and vision, but this exhibition celebrates her long, brutal decline into decay and death

The Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck is not exactly a household name in Britain – and there’s no reason she should be. This is the first UK solo show of her sort-of expressionist works and it’s strictly for the dutiful. It might serve to cool you down on a hot day, though. Schjerfbeck’s uninspired miserabilism is a cold shower of second-rate art.

Born in Helsinki in 1862, Schjerfbeck had a long painting life that only ended with her death in 1946, her easel at her bedside. She is almost the exact contemporary of the Norwegian Edvard Munch and, like him, she painted the long dark night of the Nordic soul. However, in her art this teeters on bathos and descends into embarrassment. The curators have included three portraits of her mother, one a heavy-handed homage to Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No 1. The artist’s daughterly devotion is clear, yet there’s nothing in them to make the viewer share that interest. It’s hard to know why we need to intrude on this private world.

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The New York Times

Jul 17 2019
One Small Step for Experimental Space Gear. Many Giant Leaps of Imagination.
One Small Step for Experimental Space Gear. Many Giant Leaps of Imagination.
A gallery of scenes from when the space age was young and extraterrestrial travel looked fun.
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The Guardian

Jul 16 2019
Caber tossing and wrestling: the Inveraray Highland Games – in pictures

The games celebrate Scottish culture and heritage with field and track events, piping, highland dancing competitions and heavy events including the world championships for tossing the caber

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The Guardian

Jul 16 2019
How Liz Johnson Artur chronicled black culture – in pictures

The photography of Russian-Ghanaian Liz Johnson Artur is being showcased in her first solo exhibition, now on at the Brooklyn Museum in New York until 18 August. It spans three decades of work and offers up an intimate look at individuals and communities across the African diaspora

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