Three prominent Mexican film directors have called out their government on the issue of the 43 disappeared students, a San Diego architect takes on Sen. Ted Cruz and border policy and protesters hit the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Plus: There are plans afoot for a museum of California art in Orange County and a Los Angeles architect thinks about how to memorialize the concentration camp at Birkenau. It's a very heady week in the arts:
—No. 1 on the list: “The Frame” on KPCC-FM (89.3) has an interview with director Guillermo del Toro about the joint statement he issued with fellow directors Alfonso Cuarón and Alejandro Iñárritu at the Museum of Modern Art seeking justice for Mexico’s 43 disappeared students: “We believe that these crimes are systemic and indicate a much greater evil — the blurred lines between organized crime and high-ranking officers in the Mexican government.”
—San Diego-based architect and urban theorist Teddy Cruz writes a powerful open letter to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about immigration policy: “Immigrants are not threats; they may in fact be our best teachers.” Drop whatever you are doing and read this.
—Heritage lost: Photographic evidence appears to show the destruction of historic shrines in Iraq by the militant group known as Islamic State, an act which UNESCO's chief has described as “barbaric.” Plus, an iconic, colonial-era bronze has disappeared from a plaza in Tripoli, Libya.
—Activists unfurl a banner at the Guggenheim Museum to protest labor conditions at the new Guggenheim building site in Abu Dhabi.
—Speaking of the Gugg: Kriston Capps sifts through the design submissions for Guggenheim Helsinki and comes up with “a funhouse of frivolous forms.”
—Detroit is a majority black city — almost 83%, to be exact — yet its creative initiatives, from fellowships to TEDx talks, seem to be inhabited primarily by whites, Infinite Mile reports.
—And, because everyone is doing their things-you-don't-know-about-Jerry-Perenchio stories, I’ve got a few to add to the list: employees at a TV station he owned once went on a hunger strike for better wages, he is a major funder of Karl Rove’s "super PAC" American Crossroads, and he once built an illegal private golf course on his Malibu property (later approved by the California Coastal Commission). No mogul's history is all unicorns and roses ....
—Because we’re on the subject of LACMA: Architectural Record looks at Peter Zumthor’s ever-evolving design process for the Cylon Basestar, a.k.a. the museum’s expansion plan.
—Meanwhile, in Orange County, a Newport Beach couple has donated a collection of more than 200 California scene paintings — including works by Millard Sheets and Rex Brandt — for a Chapman University museum that they will also fund.
—And because too much museum news is never enough museum news: Former Frick director Ian Wardropper opposes expansion plans for the stately Manhattan museum: "It’s a house museum. If it were kept as a house museum it would serve its purpose." (h/t @KnightLAT)
—A former specialist from the Getty Conservation Institute is trying to establish a profession-wide index that would rate works of art based on the stability of their materials. “We need this new model for trading art as an asset,” she told Barron’s. Because what the world really needs more of is for people to treat art as an asset.
—Since we’re on the topic of conservation, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has restored a statue of Adam that had split into pieces after its pedestal crumpled. A truly remarkable undertaking. Don’t miss the accompanying slideshow.
—Benjamin Sutton over at Hyperallergic has an interesting Q&A with historian Charlotte Guichard about historic graffiti. It turns out that French baroque painter Nicholas Poussin once tagged the Vatican.
—Avishay Artsy of KCRW-FM (89.9) has a great report on L.A. architect Russell Thomsen, who has an unorthodox concept for preserving memories of the Birkenau concentration camp. The design schematics are currently on view at SCI-Arc in downtown L.A.
—“La Cucaracha” cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz collaborated with essayist and academic Ilan Stavans to produce an alternative history of the United States that became a bestseller over the summer. The unlikely pair talked to La Bloga about the project.
—And last but not least, what it’s like to be on a book tour, by the hilarious Gary Shteyngart: “I’ve gained five pounds, mostly near my armpits, and there’s a permanent red crease across my forehead from falling asleep against car windows.”
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