A documentary revisits the iconic 1932 ‘Lunch Atop a Skyscraper’ photograph.
A Chinese property company has pledged to build South Africa a new financial hub. On Nov. 4, Shanghai Zendai unveiled plans to transform Modderfontein, a manufacturing district in eastern Johannesburg, into a multi-use financial center “on par with cities like New York … or Hong Kong,” said Zendai chairman Dai Zhikang. The firm said it will spend about $7.8 billion on the development over the next 15 years.
The development—which has yet to be named and will include some 35,000 houses, an education center, and a sports arena—marks a departure from past forms of Chinese investment in Africa, many of which have drawn criticism. Over the past decade, state-owned and private Chinese firms have been been building African roads, railways, ports and other infrastructure in exchange for access to minerals and oil—a relationship that’s led some to call China a “neo-colonialist.” Chinese state oil firms now face resistance from their former partners in Niger, Chad, and Gabon.
Read more. [Image: AECI]
With countless walls to choose from, it’s little surprise that artists like Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, Thomas Hart Benton, Maxfield Parish, Keith Haring, and Sol LeWitt—and now, working on a different scale, Banksy—have made New York City their canvas. But many of the massive artworks that adorn office buildings, schools, hospitals, bars, and restaurants often go unseen to the many eyes that pass by them every day. Unless shown exactly where to look, a New Yorker can miss the masterworks in front of him or her.
I, for example, never realized that Orozco painted a suite of politically sensitive historical tableau on labor, science, politics and culture at The New School on 12th Street, so close to where I live. But then I saw the paintings in the new book Murals of New York City: The Best of New York’s Public Paintings From Bemelmans to Parrish by Glenn Palmer-Smith with photographs by Joshua McHugh. The tome offers a collection of fascinating, striking images—and should make city-dwellers look on their surroundings anew .
"People suddenly realized that New York could tear down things it should never have torn down."
"If you were to splash New York with some kind of luminescent ink that reveals the age of buildings, this is roughly what it would look like: vast green swaths of 20th-century development, freckled with verdant blue and purple structures slapped together in the 1800s"
Big, sweeping thinking was endemic to post-9/11 New York. The aftermath seemed to encourage everyone not simply to pursue their ideas but to stretch them to their most ambitious, impressive ends. For architect Kevin Kennon, this meant solving the problem of the WTC’s enduring chaos.
Kevin lived on Hudson Street, in Tribeca, about ten blocks from the destruction. Every night, the glow from recovery crews’ floodlights illuminated his street. The rumbling of jackhammers provided twenty-four-hour-a-day white noise. In the midst of all this, Kevin thought it was too soon to be thinking about rebuilding, so one October afternoon he took a break from the whirl of design meetings and walked to Ground Zero. “It was chaotic, and it was extraordinary,” Kevin said of the site. “There were an extraordinary number of people. People were climbing fences, it was unsafe.” He paused and gave me a knowing look. “Something had to be done.”
Read more. [Image: Mike Segar/Reuters]
New York City is one of the few U.S. municipalities–or maybe the only one–to have its own art director. “Well, more like a ‘de facto’ one,” says graphic designer Willy Wong about his seven years on the job as chief creative officer for NYC & Company and its outreach platform, NYCGO. At 35, Wong, who graduated Dartmouth College and received an MFA from Yale, oversees the NYC brand—the image projected externally to the world and internally in the city and to mark its products, services, and surfaces.
A tongue-in-cheek installment of a documentary portrait series features a feline New Yorker.
Today marks the start of Documerica Week on In Focus — a new photo essay each day, featuring regions of the U.S. covered by the photographers of the Documerica Project in the early 1970s. The Documerica Project was put together by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1971, with a primary goal of documenting adverse effects of modern life on the environment, but photographers were also encouraged to record the daily life of ordinary people, capturing a broad snapshot of America. Today’s subject is New York City, an area covered by many photographers, showing some of the urban decay and congestion that helped prompt environmental legislation, as well as glimpses of New Yorkers at work and play. Stay tuned for part 2 of Documerica Week tomorrow, when we travel southwest.