1. Artists and Designers React to Brexit
With emotions running high across the Western world in reaction to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, artists and designers have done what they do best: convey feelings through images. With responses ranging from angry to humorous and heartbroken—it seems the overarching belief in the UK creative community was to remain.
2. The End of the Monster Polaroid
20×24 Studio (the home of large-format instant photography) announced this week that it will be ending production operations next year. While many might not know about it, an enormous version of the Polaroid camera was invented in the late ’70s in order to show consumers the quality of the brand’s large-format film, and while it (understandably) wasn’t a model that caught on for the mainstream—the camera measure 20 inches by 24 inches—it became a favorite in the art world. The likes of Mary Ellen Mark and Chuck Close (among others) used them. After Polaroid filed for bankruptcy in 2008, now 20×24 Studio must also close its doors. Founder John Reuter has kept the dream alive as long as possible, saying, “I’ve been doing this for 40 years now, and I understand the importance of the history maybe better than anyone else. But there is a time when things have to come to an end.”
3. Everything About Art Basel 2016
Over a whirlwind four day period (though, arguably longer), the art world descends upon Basel, Switzerland for Art Basel. Therein, works debut, pieces change hands and critics, gallerists and collectors gage expectations for the remainder of the year in art. Despite what’s been perceived as a shaky art market year, there were impressive sales at the fair—and plenty of groundbreaking works. For a truly comprehensive look, from best booths to most interesting acquisitions, head over to artnet.
4. Chicago Makes the Right Move in Equal Access to Bathrooms
Four months to the day since the Charlotte City Council passed the discriminatory House Bill 2 in North Carolina, Chicago has done the opposite. In a vote passed at 45 to five, Chicago’s City Council has announced that transgender people are allowed to use whichever bathroom matches their gender identity. “As other states try to erase transgender people from public life, let’s recognize that this ordinance is about more than public accommodations. In the wake of the violence against LGBT people in Orlando, it is about standing up for the dignity of all Chicagoans and ensuring our city remains a welcoming and affirming place,” Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois says. It’s a small but significant step in the right direction for the LGBTQIA community and the country as a whole.
5. Mongolia’s New Postal System
The Mongol post has several hurdles to jump over in order to deliver mail: a quarter of the country’s population is nomadic, roads rarely have well-known names, and the country is huge but barely populated (it’s twice the size of Texas but has a tenth of the state’s population). Now the Mongolian government is teaming up with a British start-up called What3Words in an attempt to make the postal system more effective. Instead of a traditional Western-style address, the system gives each location a three-word name: Engine.Doors.Cubs. or Chief.Score.Locked. It’s a fascinating approach and reads somewhat similarly to a poem. Find out how it works on NPR.
6. The Story Behind Prince’s Last Guitar
In February 2016, custom guitar maker and creator of the distinct Purple Special guitar, Simon Farmer received an email from Prince’s former drummer Kirk Johnson. Years prior, in 2007, Farmer produced the Purple Special with one person in mind: Prince. After years of internet support and rave reviews about the instrument, Johnson reached out to Farmer to acquire the guitar for Prince and only a month later, Prince himself reached out with the request for another custom instrument: a black-and-gold bass guitar. After some dialogue, the Gus G3 Prince bass was designed, but sadly Prince died while it was being produced. While the tragedy shook Farmer deeply, the lasting image of a craftsman’s dream and an iconic artist happens to be the last photo of Prince performing at Paisley Park—holding Farmer’s Purple Special.
7. Design Concepts for BMW Art Cars #18 and #19
Since 1975, BMW has partnered with artists to transform their models into something more than a piece of art. The latest crop, #18 by artist Cao Fei and #19 by John Baldessari continue the tradition. The former will debut, in person, summer 2017 and hit the track shortly thereafter in Asia. Baldessari’s vehicle is set to premiere this year at Art Basel, Miami Beach and take the Daytona course in January 2017. Both artists worked with a BMW M6 GT3, but their design approaches and ultimate results reflect the diversity of their vision, and just how dynamic the car can be.
8. Iconic NYC Buildings in the Desert
In a mesmerizing series, former agency director and now hands-on designer Anton Repponen takes recognizable (some iconic) structures and places them in barren landscapes. The result is entirely familiar and surreal at the same time. From the United Nations headquarters sitting in the middle of a desert, 8 Spruce Street (aka New York By Gehry) on a sand dune to the Guggenheim Museum on a rocky cliff, the images make no sense but look oddly real.