Farewell to Pioneering Filmmaker, Agnès Varda
Boundary-breaking French filmmaker Agnès Varda passed away. Radical, feminist, experimental and spirited, her films explored taboo subjects and while they weren’t commercially successful, they remain powerfully influential and rich with wisdom. One of her earlier films, Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962) explores existentialism, narcissism and pain through a decidedly feminine lens—Peter Bradshaw writes, the film “is news that stays news.” He continues, “Her work was not commercial in any generally accepted sense, but her ideas were crucially lucid and available. Audiences young and old loved her… She was a young soul, and a great one.” Read more at The Guardian.
Jean Nouvel’s Surprising National Museum of Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar opened its doors to the public on 28 March. As The Art Newspaper points out, it seeks to be seen as “both a local museum for everyone, and a powerful statement of nationhood that will help transform Qatar into an Arab capital of culture.” Through the spectacular Jean Nouvel-designed building—which the French architect imagined from the desert rose-inspired facade all the way to the detailed scenography of the 11 interlined gallery interiors—the museum succeeds at both. Further, it’s a 539-disk feat of engineering. Inside, innovative displays fit in spaces entirely devoid of straight lines. It’s a space one must see to believe. Read more—and see more images—at The Art Newspaper.
SpaceX’s 4K Falcon 9 Launch Video
Shot during one of SpaceX’s recent Falcon 9 launches, this 4K video gives space enthusiasts and exploration optimists an unprecedented look into the launch, ascent, descent and landing of one of the most impressive spacecrafts built thus far. Though there have been many videos taken of the Falcon 9, this is the clearest and—thanks to the clarity—undoubtedly the most inspiring. Click through to YouTube to watch the full video.
Broadly’s Gender-Inclusive Stock Photos
After a 2015 Broadly article about tucking inappropriately featured a photo of a cisgender man, the author, Diana Tourjée (now a staff member at the publication and the driving force behind this project) explained why it could be harmful to the trans community. While the choice of image was questionable, it also brought up the larger issue of inclusivity in stock photos—and the fact that the trans community was wildly underrepresented. To solve the problem, Broadly made their own library of stock images. The collection (available here) features trans and non-binary people in an array of positions—all which aim to avoid clichés. As the site states, the library was made to “help media better represent members of these communities as people not necessarily defined by their gender identities—people with careers, relationships, talents, passions, and home lives.” And, as Tourjée says, “In terms of doing better, we need to be thinking really critically about representation beyond one identify qualifier, right?” Read more at Broadly.
EU to Require Speed-Limiting Tech in New Cars
Aimed at saving lives and preparing the general public for fully autonomous vehicles, the EU is en route to pass a measure that requires all new cars to be outfitted with speed-limiting features. According to a new study, the proposal will save around 25,000 lives and prevent 140,000 serious injuries. It won’t go into full effect until 2022, but the forthcoming years will be formative in persuading drivers to forfeit their role in mobility. Read more about the initiative at Dezeen.
The Art World’s Very Own Indiana Jones
Dubbed the “Indiana Jones of the Art World,” Dutch detective Arthur Brand has just recovered a stolen Picasso painting worth $28.2 million. Like the storyline of a heist movie, the 1938 painting Buste de Femme (Dora Maar)—depicting one of the artist’s mistresses—was stolen in 1999 from “a Saudi sheikh’s yacht on the French Riviera.” Brand (who spent four years on the hunt) says the painting was used as collateral in drug and arms deals—having changed hands 10+ times. “I hung the Picasso on my wall for a night, thereby making my apartment one of the most expensive in Amsterdam for a day,” he tells AFP. Read more there.
The Overdue Successes of Older Black Artists
After decades of indifference from the art world, many African American artists in their 70s and 80s are finally garnering the attention, bidders, invitations to lectures, panels and shows—and, of course, income—they deserve. These overdue successes result in mixed reactions, and rightly so. Sculptor and teacher, Melvin Edwards says, “It’s about time the art world caught up.” While painter Howardena Pindell has “a different kind of contentment: ‘It’s more a sense of feeling protected and safe in terms of the vicissitudes of the art world.'” Read more at the New York Times.
Smart Trash Can Works to End Food Waste
Developers at Winnow Vision may have figured out a preventive solution for food waste. The second generation of their smart trash can, currently operating in all of IKEA’s UK and Ireland locations, uses AI to photograph, identify and assign a cost to the food that’s tossed. Annual food waste costs about $1.2 trillion, but if the trash can is able to identify trends in consumption then food suppliers and restaurants will be able to subsequently change their habits—and reduce waste. The system’s already helped IKEA reduce their food waste by 50%. Learn more at Reuters.
Museum Attendance Under the Beyoncé Effect
With Art Newspaper’s annual international survey, Art’s Most Popular, to be published this week, details are already emerging about a milestone year in attendance. The Louvre saw more than a quarter more visitor than in previous years—a boost attributed to the Beyoncé and Jay-Z music video “Apeshit.” Elsewhere, the Tate Modern surpassed the British Museum for the first time in nine years. Portraits of President and Michelle Obama brought in a million more attendees to Washington’s Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2018. But The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York hosted the two most popular exhibitions of the year. Read more at The Guardian—and on Art Newspaper when its survey runs.