Link About It: This Week’s Picks

The '80s aesthetic, Arse Vases, 2,000-Year-Old Roman concrete and more in our look around the web

1. Ten Women Who Built NYC’s Art Scene

The Whitney, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim—these are world-famous art museums and their founders (or co-founders) all happen to be women. New York’s art scene doesn’t hinge on three institutions, however. From art salons and extensive commissions to forward-thinking galleries, women built what would become one of the richest cultural scenes on the planet. Some names are more familiar than others—Peggy Guggenheim (founder of Art of This Century Gallery, which first showed Pollock and Kahlo), Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (co-founder of MoMA), and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (co-founder of The Whitney), for example—but others with lesser known names have done just as much, if not more. To learn more about 10 of these impact women, head over to Artsy.

2. “Arse Vase” for Charity Positive East

London-based artist Fredrik Andersson has created—in collaboration with Wieden+Kennedy—a limited edition vase which will help raise funds for the HIV awareness charity Positive East. Just 100 Arse Vases have been made (by hand), in a few different colorways, in order to represent various derrieres, and Andersson tells It’s Nice That, the project was important because “In recent years, I have realized that as an artist you have a responsibility to give something back to the queer community that is such a big part of my life.” The flower/s go in the butthole—says Andersson, “naturally”—and the money raised will provide counseling, support, preventative activities and tests.

3. Libraries of the Digital Age

With the mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library about to undergo renovations, the location will seek “a mix of informal and formal seating, flexible spaces, more outlets and internet capacity, and natural light,” according to Architectural Digest. But there’s more than these amenities at play, as the publication also notes that “smart design is keeping demand for the printed word alive.” In fact, books have been taking on more of an architectural presences in the NYPL branches says Risa Honig, vice president of capital planning. Not everyone is reading on screens—and only 20% of library rentals are e-books. So, thankfully, there will be a place for paper books in libraries and, in fact, it will be a fundamental component to the visual design.

4. Understanding the ’80s Aesthetic

Italian architect Ettore Sottsass and the global Memphis Design collective (of which he was a part) had tremendous impact on design across the world—starting with their Salone del Mobile Milano presentation in 1981 where every item was named after a luxury hotel. Their use of radical design then (and afterward) was aimed at breaking free from modernism and its rules. At the same time, MTV was launching and employing colors and pattern upon pattern in their logo and graphic design. Memphis Group would disband but their impact was a turning point in design and can be seen in movies, magazines and TV shows from the decade. You can learn more through the video at Vox.

5. 2017’s Must-See Documentaries

From well-known filmmakers to newcomers, there’s a slew of fascinating documentaries being released this year, each of which explores diverse topics—from religion to race, music, film, war. HighSnobiety has rounded up 26 of the films their team is most excited about—and we can’t help but agree. Their selections include a biography of Chyna (aka Joan Marie Laurer) and Ms Veteran America, as well as incredibly poignant political and and societal documentaries. See the full list—and trailers—at HighSnobiety.

6. MUJI to Open a Hotel in Tokyo

A couple months ago, Japanese minimalist retailer MUJI announced its first hotel in Shenzhen, China. This week, they announced that in the spring of 2019, they plan to open a hotel in Japan. The MUJI Hotel will be located inside a 10-story building in the Ginza district of Tokyo—six floors will be dedicated to a MUJI store, and the rest will be accommodation. Rooms will, undoubtedly, be clean, minimal and full of MUJI products. Find out more at Spoon + Tamago.

7. Volvo’s Gearing to go All Electric

It’s been a good week for electric automobiles, thanks to two major global commitments. First, China’s Geely announced that Volvo, the Sweden-based brand they purchased back in 2010, will produce only electric or hybrid vehicles starting in 2019. This will include five new models produced at Volvo plants worldwide—three under the Volvo name and two under Polestar (Volvo’s performance brand). This makes Volvo the first traditional global automaker to make such a promise and step away from the internal combustion engine. Unrelated but also of value, this week France agreed to ban the sale of gas and diesel cars by 2040.

8. Why 2,000-Year-Old Roman Concrete Still Stands

How is it that 2000 years later, certain Roman ruins still stand in harbors? Geologists have determined that it pertains to one of the components—aluminum tobermorite, a rare mineral found in volcanic ash. When struck with seawater (another component of Roman concrete, along with lime and rock), a possolanic reaction occurs where the tobermorite crystallizes and spreads—adding further strength. Thus, longterm seawater exposure only reinforces the material, rather than eroding it. This volcanic ash/seawater combination could potentially be used today to produce sustainable concrete for our waterways.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning.