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The Week in Design

A special Monday edition of everything good in art and design.

A whole new museum

The who’s who of the art world showed up to greet the new Whitney Museum in the Meatpacking District on Monday night, and what I’ve read of the reception has been very positive. Some of the art darlings that attended the inauguration included Jasper Johns, Cindy Sherman, and Chuck Close, WWD reports. The building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, is approximately 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries and 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space with terraces facing the High Line. The museum officially opens to the public on May 1 and will include two exhibitions: “America Is Hard To See” is a group show featuring about 400 artists and will be part of the museum’s permanent collection. Mary Heimann will have a site specific installation of colorful sculptural chairs titled “Sunset” on the museum's fifth-floor outdoor gallery.

Up and away

I often chuckle at airportgoers for various reasons—like when they’re sleeping in public with their mouths open or running late for a flight. The latter reason is such a common sight that it should be considered a sport. The folks at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport seem to think so, too, because instead of an old boring walkway, Narita now features an indoor running track, Adweek reports. This interactive project is a premature celebration of Tokyo’s role in hosting the 2020 Olympic Games. Perhaps it’s a tiny bit in advance, but, hey, people will be running on that path regardless.

Game on!

People are hooked on Minecraft, apparently. The game has sold 54 million copies since its release in 2011. Whle all this is news to me (not sorry), Google informs me that players “build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world.” (Oh! So, like Tetris!?) Good news for fans—now you can sort of have a life and continue to dominate the virtual world. Gameband + Minecraft launched a wearable wrist device that allows gamers to play all the time, Huffington Post reports. The device ($80) automatically backs up your at-home game via the cloud so you can easily begin where you left off.

Wheel o’ fun

About 300 Colombians honored their favorite pastime of cycling at la Plaza de Bolívar in Bogotá, in an attempt to break the record for the world’s largest bicycle. The current record is held in the United States. Organizers must first raise enough money for the title to be officially considered as a Guinness World Record holder.

Good to go

The idea of charging your phone on the go may have been a dream just a couple of years ago, but that technology is with us today. There are several ways to never be without a full tank, but none of these options have been particularly stylish until now. VanDerWaals, a handbag company that develops wearable technology by which consumers can change the color of their purse with a free app, is now adding another cool element to their high-functioning products. VanDerWaals is now adding charging capabilities installed right inside the purse—you can easily plug in your smartphone, tablet, or other portable devices.

New York will get a floating food island

2015 ABOG award recipients.

This week, A Blade of Grass (ABOG), an organization and blog devoted to nurturing socially engaged art, announced the recipients of the 2015 ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art. Seven artists and one collective will recieve a one-year fellowship that combines $20,000 with strategic assistance tools, video documentation, and other resources. After a nationwide open call that yielded 500 applicants, some of the projects chosen include a plan to use teen artists' video games to spark dialogue in Chicago (The Street Arcade); a new media initiative via the San Quentin Prison Report Radio Project that facilitates an ongoing collaboration between incarcerated men in San Quentin State Prison and reporters; and Harriet's Apothecary, an intergenerational healing village that provides accessible, affordable community spaces for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and allies. My favorite projects?

Sol Aramendi's Apps for Power, a smartphone-based app developed in collaboration with immigrant day laborers, artists, organizers, developers, and lawyers, will fight wage theft by allowing users to safely share their experiences and report abusive or neglectful employers. And Mary Mattingly's Swale, an “itinerant food forest that will function as a floating island in New York City,” might just be the first time we’ve ever been excited about a food forest.

Mary Mattingly's Waterpod (2009), just one of her many water-based works.

Are you a friend of Bruce?

The Bruce High Quality Foundation, "Pizzatopia", Foam, wood and plastic, Diameter 330 cm, 2009.

Tomorrow in NYC Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU) will hold their Annual Benefit Dinner and Art Auction, this year honoring Phil and Shelley Aarons and The Guerrilla Girls Broadband. Hosted inside Palazzo Chupi, the monumental home of artist Julian Schnabel, the evening will include a live auction featuring artworks by Cindy Sherman, Will Cotton, Francesco Clemente, and Kiki Smith, among others, and will raise money for BHQFU, New York City’s only free art school and community space. Founded in 2009 by The Bruce High Quality Foundation, the school is meant to act as an alternative to the BFA/MFA educational model of “attenuating debt.” BHQFU holds weekly courses, public events, and innovative artist residency programs, and currently serves over 700 students annually. Though there’s no word on how the public can get a ticket to the illustrious event, you can still donate to this worthy cause here. It’s a shame thoughwe know their last benefit had a pretty interesting nacho pinwheel.

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