Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles Will Shift to Solar Energy
With the aid of funding from Kickstarter Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (once the Santa Monica Museum of Art, before its move downtown) intends to rely entirely on solar energy. ICA hopes “to raise $25,000 to install 206 solar panels and six inverters across the museum’s 12,000 square feet of rooftop space,” according to Artnet. This would remove the museum from the grid, a move that would offset further solar costs in the future. One of only a few non-profits to attempt such a move toward sustainability, ICA’s actions will hopefully provide an example for peers. Read more at Artnet.
Uncovered Wedding Photos Depict Gay Marriage Pre-Legalization
In order to have their passion project (a show called The Mystery of the 1957 Gay Wedding Photos) made, a trio of writers, filmmakers and producers is seeking information about a decades-old event. In 1957 Philadelphia, a roll of photographs—depicting two grooms getting hitched in a small apartment, with the blinds drawn, surrounded by guests—was developed, but never got back to its owners. An act of joyous defiance, this wedding wasn’t legal (the Supreme Court only recognized the right for LGBTQ+ people to marry five years ago) but was clearly a merry occasion, with the couple kissing, dancing, cutting cake and opening gifts. Now the search for the couple, who would be in their 80s or 90s, is on. As filmmaker PJ Palmer says, “There is a very rich history that’s been suppressed. I wish as a child [that] I had seen family photos of a marriage like this. I would have felt more normal as a kid. I would have known that I was OK.” See some of the photos at BBC.
Anastasia Samoylova’s “FloodZone” Documents the Uncertain Future of Miami
Anastasia Samoylova’s FloodZone series depicts the people and infrastructure that are adjusting to life in one of the USA’s epicenters of climate change: Miami. “You will find no images of catastrophe in Anastasia Samoylova’s FloodZone,” The New Yorker’s David Company writes. “She is looking for other things, the subtler signs of what awaits the populations that cluster along shorelines. What is it to live day by day on a climatic knife’s edge? What psychological state does it demand?” The citizens here watch as the city elevates buildings and sidewalks, but the future is uncertain. While climate change is real, and the affects are startlingly visible in the nation’s seventh largest city, they are also unsure what exactly to prepare for. And as Company says, “A poverty of imagination may be our biggest challenge.” Read and see more at The New Yorker.
Washington, DC’s First Elevated Public Park
With construction set to break ground in 2021 (and be completed in 2023), Washington, DC’s 11th Street Bridge Park will connect Anacostia to Capitol Hill by way of a 1.45-mile-long elevated public park. Envisioned by OMA and OLIN, the park will feature an environmental education center, public plaza, amphitheater, hammock grove and more. Further, the green space aims to be a resource for the residents of the community—and seeks funds to develop affordable housing advocacy groups. Read more at BBAR.
Pompeii’s Unearthed Stash of Ancient Charms and Amulets
When Pompeii met its sudden end more than 2,000 years ago, the city was buried with many treasures intact. With every archaeological dig there, remarkable insight into Roman life is revealed. A recent dig inside the House of the Garden unearthed the remains of 10 people and a collection of gems, beads, shells and amulets—once housed in a wooden box. There are phallic charms oftentimes worn by boys to ward off evil, seashells for fertility, and gems engraved with various gods. While they vary in size and purpose, Drew Wilburn of Oberlin College (a researcher studying the ancient Roman practice of magic) says they not only “show us what these individuals were doing at this time, but also the range of objects that were used in these rituals… Finding magic and evidence of the practice of rituals like this, it’s pretty uncommon.” Read more at Atlas Obscura.
The Rise of Plant-Based Eggs
In the world of plant-based alternatives, eggs have met their match. Mung bean (the pea-colored legume) proves to be a viable substitute for hatched eggs—in color, texture and flavor—and the growth of Silicon Valley-based JUST Foods is evidence of that. According to new research, the brand’s liquid egg alternative, JUST Egg, barely trails real eggs in weekly sales. And Kroger, a national chain of grocers that comprises 2,100 stores, just committed to placing the product nationwide, essentially ensuring that the growth is far from over. Read more at Quartz.
The Resiliency of the Smiley Face
Originally designed by Harvey Ball in 1963, the Smiley Face has become an immediately recognizable symbol the world over. In the early ’70s two Hallmark reps copyrighted the design and later a French journalist claimed it through the Smiley Company—that same company made $420 million in 2017 by licensing the logo, claiming it’s more than an icon, it’s “a spirit and a philosophy.” In recent years, the face has appeared in dozens of fashion releases and artworks (from KATSU to Banksy and Nate Lowman). The first-ever Emoticons were also very similar to Ball’s creation. It’s synonymous with rave culture of the ’80s and ’90s, while bands like Talking Heads and Nirvana reimagined it for logos. Kate Silzer writes, “Given its uncurtailed proliferation, will the smiley ever lose its value as a signifier? If it can mean everything, then, surely, it will mean nothing.” Read more about the enduring Smiley Face at Artsy.