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Roundup: Palmyra temple destroyed, Zaha's controversial stadium, Banksy's Disneyland

Roundup: Palmyra temple destroyed, Zaha's controversial stadium, Banksy's Disneyland
The courtyard sanctuary of Baalshamin, a 2,000-year-old temple inPalmyra, Syria, on March 14, 2014. (Joseph Eid / AFP/Getty Images)

Islamic militants destroy a 2,000-year-old temple in Syria. A pair of L.A. architects defend a new design proposal for the L.A. County Museum of Art. And a prominent architect criticizes the decision to not build a Zaha Hadid-designed stadium in Tokyo. Plus: Banksy's take on Disneyland, tourists get freaky with a Nicki Minaj statue in Vegas and a photographer captures the treadmill desks of the L.A. tech set.

— It appears that the worst fears of the international archaeological community are coming true: Islamic State militants have reportedly blown up the Baalshamin Temple at Palmyra, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Syria. The Roman temple was built in AD 17, and expanded under the reign of Hadrian, the emperor who consolidated the Roman empire.

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— Must-read: A stunning report by Forbes on the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, a for-profit institution whose tuition is high and professional credibility low.

— The aesthete behind the mega-collector: a profile of Edye Broad, wife of Eli and patron behind the soon-to-open Broad Museum. The best bit in the story? Her hubby once kept a Van Gogh with his choners.

— And, because we're on a countdown for the opening of the Broad, here's a small taste of what the museum will be showing.

— L.A. architects Sharon Johnson and Mark Lee, of Johnston Marklee, have written a missive in the Los Angeles Review of Books in support of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor's plan for LACMA. Good read.

— The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Arizona faces a $1-million funding deadline this week or it could potentially lose its accreditation.

— Money with a side of art: the world of art advisors.

— Sort of related: Last month, the Japanese scrapped plans for a Zaha Hadid-designed stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In a statement released last week, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Rogers said the move is a big mistake and that Olympic organizers have "lost their nerve."

— New York City leaders want to undo the pedestrian plazas in Times Square. I can't think of a bigger, more shortsighted mistake. Prior to the change, the area was so unbearably congested, the only way to get anywhere was to walk in traffic. Does Mayor Bill DiBlasio really think that returning to those days is a good idea?

— A statue of Nicki Minaj in a sexy pose from her video for "Anaconda" has led to a rash of dirty tourist photos in Las Vegas. Guardian critic Jonathan Jones says this isn't new. Humans have been getting freaky with statuary since the days of Pliny the Elder.

— Photographer Lauren Greenfield records the ways of L.A.'s tech elite for California Sunday, complete with treadmill desks. An interesting point in the story highlights the difference between L.A. tech architecture versus Bay Area tech architecture. (L.A. is more open.)

— The New York Times style magazine offers us a scintillating New York Times-y guide to L.A. (as in: the part of L.A. that is mainly located above the 10 and between the 5 and the 405). The piece is most interesting for the fact that once-thriving gallery center Santa Monica doesn't even register in the selections. (Ouch!) And, of course, there are the obligatory lines about L.A. being a one-industry Hollywood town. I guess they forgot about manufacturing, shipping, aerospace, tech and healthcare. (Must be a typo.) That's OK, we can all console ourselves by rereading that green pea guacamole recipe till suntan lotion comes out our noses. Meanwhile, let us raise a glass to the memory of chef Michael Roberts.

— "Lord of the Rings" fans are trying to raise $2.9 billion on Indiegogo to build a real-world version of Tolkien's fictional city, Minas Tirith.

— Banksy has an answer to Disneyland. It's an installation called Dismaland -- and apparently it will host a show by Pussy Riot in late September. The website has already crashed as potential patrons try to get in.

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— That really bad restoration of a Jesus painting in Spain -- a.k.a. "Beast Jesus" -- has inspired an opera. Somebody better bring this to L.A.

Incredible pictures of Eritrea's "Little Rome," a city whose design was shaped by Italian architects and Mussolini in the 1930s. Wow.

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— Rhizome has a roundup of good creative apps for your smartphone.

— And last but not least, a hypnotizing video of a 250-pound sculpture of a red ball loose on the streets of Toledo. The video is so wondrous that M.H. Miller at ARTnews has written four haiku in its honor.

Find me on the Twitters @cmonstah

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