eMusings

Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 15 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.

Gender inequalities have long been noted in the field of architecture. Statistics reveal that only 18% of licensed architects are women, even though they represent one half of the students at architectural schools. Around the world a mere 3 of the top 100 companies have a female CEO. In response, here are 16 women architects that seem to be making waves with their innovative approaches. From Elizabeth Diller, who designed the Broad Museum in Los Angeles and was the only architect of any gender to be included in Time magazine's 100 most influential people, to Kazuyo Seijima, who was the second woman ever to receive the Pritzker Prize, from Mabel O. Wilson, a founding member of "Who Builds Your Architecture?" to Odile Decq (don't miss her "Phantom's Phantom" installation at the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2018), you will find some truly innovative thinkers and creators in this list. Be sure to view the slideshow presentations for each architect.

It was inevitable that Artificial Intelligence would claim its place in the art world. Of course the eminent painter/engineer Harold Cohen led the way with "Aaron's Code", his AI algorithm for generating art on the computer. His progression through the iterations of Aaron's output is worth considering still. Now we have Obvious, a group of artists using AI algorithms to create pixelated portraits and set to auction one off at Christie's. The auction house is asking whether AI is the start of a new medium in art; those of us who know, know that the new vision in art began when NASA brought back images from the moon, forever altering our view of humanity's place in the larger universe.

They are calling it "Afro Punk" and "Black Beauty". I see it as beauty itself without the necessity for qualifying adjectives. The creativity here is stunning. It's all part of a Brooklyn, NY festival, with photos by Mark Clennon. Clennon's body of work is poignant and heartfelt. Pride and joy predominate.

At age 15, Rick Genest, also known as Zombie Boy, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Genest went on to transform his body into a "living skeleton", using tattoos to show the insides of his body on the outside. He also became a muse for other artists like Lady Gaga. Another artist, Marc Quinn, created a sculpture of Zombie Boy, calling it Self-Conscious Gene, and is showing it at the new Medecine Galleries at the Science Museum in London. Quinn's eerie investigations into the human can be seen further with Self, a model of the artist's own head, submerged in frozen silicon, and created from ten pints of his own blood.

A rather interesting concept for a bookstore has been built in Shanghai by the Chinese Architectural Firm Wutopia Lab. The bookstore is meant to represent a living map of the human psyche: the first floor represents the subconscious; the entrance level on the second floor the heart of the structure, with a cafe and reading area; the third floor suggests the eyes and ears. The top level contains a writer's study, to emphasize the bookstore's thoughts.

Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs has designed a new smart city in Toronto, complete with wood towers and a smart pavement. Publicized as "the world's first neighborhood built from the internet up", the waterfront revitalization project envisions concrete tiles that would melt snow in the winter months and LED lights to announce changes in road traffic throughout the day.

4 designers, including Es Devlin, have been invited to create special projects for this year's London Design Festival. Devlin, who previously designed sets for Beyonce, is constructing a fifth lion for Trafalgar Square, sporting a fluorescent skin and an open mouth that constrantly "speaks" poetry. The poetry comes from an LED screen embedded in the lion's mouth wth lines generated by AI. Called "Please Feed the Lions", it will be presented on September 17.

We have touched in the past on 3D technology's venture into fashion. We bring you here an update on what is happening in clothes and shoes. Re shoes, btw: they look good but be careful. These lasts are different from what you're used to and fit differently. Further note: some stores are now offering monthly payments for shoes.

Artsy .net brings us 20 female artists that are pushing the boundaries of sculpture, a field that has traditionally been led by white male artists. Some of these sculptures are quite startling: don't miss, for example, Kris Lemsalu's mixture of the human and the animal; Genesis Belanger's Acquiescence (Bent Hand) - see more of this artist's work at Mrs. Gallery; Jala Wahid's "No Need to Survive Now II". and Nnenna Okore's "Here and Now 2017.

Here's a hotel in Hawaii that would be hard to resist. Bright neon colors and playful designs add delight to every room/ The theme, if you need one, is unbridled exuberance.

Pinterest may seem an odd place to look for sculpture but in fact there are some pieces well worth your viewing here. Take some time to follow links and roam around - you won't be disappointed.

You may have traveled the world and seen interesting bridges but I doubt that you have seen one like this "Golden Bridge" in Viet Nam. Located in central Viet Name near Danang, the bridge measures nearly 500' long and rises 3,200' above sea level. Its support structure is what will knock your feet off.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London takes a stab at what lies ahead with an exhibition called "The Future Starts Here". They follow behind "Dispatches from the Future" and other sites trying to imagine what the future holds. Their emphasis appears to be on spectacle and conversation-generators, with a few well-known headliners thrown in, but there are a few pieces that bear thinking about.

Alex Ross, of the New Yorker magazine, has written an incisive description of Leonard Bernstein, based initially on Ross' experience watching Bernstein conduct a rehearsal of Gustave Mahler's Second Symphony. He describes his impression of the event in these words: Like so many people in the late twentieth century, I was a small object swayed toward a life in music by the gravitational pull of the meandering planet Bernstein. Ross goes on in some detail to describe the staggering power of Bernstein's presence in the music world, mentioning Vienna's near-worship and Michael Tilson Thomas' extraordinary rendition of "A Quiet Place" with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. The article concludes with a quote from Bernstein's 1973 Norton lecture: I'm no longer sure what the question is, but I do know the answer is YES.(1)

(1)For a glimpse of tomorrow in poetry, viewers might want to read "Once Upon A Didgeridoo".

c. Corinne Whitaker 2018