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Olafur Eliasson’s Eco-Project ‘Little Sun’ Partners with Ikea to Design Solar-Powered Tools

In further news: study finds US film critics overwhelmingly white and male; woman sues father over Basquiat

Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy: Little Sun

Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy: Little Sun

Olafur Eliasson. Courtesy: Little Sun

Announcing a dizzying array of new collaborations – with LEGO, Adidas, Virgil Abloh and Solange among others – Swedish flatpack furniture company IKEA are teaming up with artist Olafur Eliasson. Eliasson’s socially-engaged eco-project Little Sun, which he co-founded with Frederik Ottesen, aims to offer solar-powered energy to communities across the world without access to electricity. Half a million of the artist’s solar-powered Little Sun lamps have already been distributed across sub-Saharan Africa. Now Eliasson is collaborating with IKEA on a new sustainable solar-powered collection. ‘I think the democratic idea of IKEA will be really great for bringing the idea of Little Sun to the IKEA audience,’ Eliasson said. ‘It’s about getting people to understand these problems and to ask, ‘what can I do to take a more active step?’ The range of products will be unveiled next year. It’s a busy time for the Icelandic-Danish artist, who is opening up a restaurant with his sister, the chef Victoria Eliasdóttir, in Reykjavík in August. He recently unveiled his first building, a house submerged in a fjord in Vejle, Denmark. It's a change of direction for IKEA whose billionaire founder Ingvar Kamprad passed away earlier this year. Don’t miss Daniel Birnbaum’s 1996 profile of the furniture chain’s creator, from the frieze archives.

A new study carried out by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism concludes that US film critics are overwhelmingly white and male. The study, titled ‘Critic’s Choice’, looked at the gender and ethnicity of reviewers whose work had been included on the Rotten Tomatoes aggrgegator for the top 100 US box office films for 2017. Of the 19,559 reviews, 77.8% were by men, and 22.2% by women. 82% of reviewers were white. Women of colour only wrote 2.5% of the reviews under study. The report calls for a ’30/30/20/20’ tagrget inclusion plan, in accordance with US population figures: 30% white male critics, 30% white female critics, 20% male critics from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds, and 20% female critics from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds. The researchers write: ‘The consequences of this skewed representation must be considered – what are the ramifications of having cultural storytelling produced and evaluated largely by individuals from the same demographic group?’ You can read the report here.

The New York State legislature has approved plans for a monumental new public artwork by David Hammons. Situated across the road from the Whitney Museum of American Art, which is leading on the construction and maintenance of the artwork, the sculpture traces the skeleton structure of a now-demolished 19th century salt shed, on Manhattan’s Pier 52, by the Hudson River – the same pier that Gordon Matta-Clark made into an artwork in 1975, cutting five holes into the walls of the structure, calling it a ‘sun and water temple.’ Jane Crawford, Matta-Clark’s widow, told The New York Times that ‘it’s very poetic, so beautiful. I’m so honored, as I know Gordon would be were he here.’

A woman is suing her father over reducing the final sale price of a Jean-Michel Basquiat artwork at Sotheby’s last month. The painting Flesh and Spirit (1982–83) sold for USD$30.7 million. But Belinda Neumann-Donnelly, who is representing the estate of her mother, Dolores Neumann – who bought the painting from the artist in 1983 – believes her father Hubert Neumann sabotaged her chances of acquiring an additional USD$15 million, after he tried to block its sale. Hubert Neumann claims that the argument ‘stems from the fact Belinda went behind my back to sell [...the Basquiat work…] owned by my deceased wife.’

A new report alleges that Bernardo Paz, the notable Brazilian collector and founder of Inhotim art park – the outdoor museum which crowned him the ‘Willy Wonka’ of Brazil’s contemporary art scene – violated environmental law and used child labour in his charcoal production business, as he built his fortune through a portfolio of companies in the the mining and steel business through the 1980s. You can read more about the claims here.

In gallery news: The estate of Roy DeCarava is now represented worldwide by David Zwirner – a New York show of the photographer, who died in 2009, is planned at the gallery for 2019; and following up on the news earlier this year that Hauser & Wirth has added Zeng Fanzhi to its roster, the gallery has announced a major exhibition of the Chinese artist across three of its spaces in Zurich, London and Hong Kong, opening this autumn – it’s the first time that the gallery has held an exhibition of a single artist over three locations at once.

Fnally, several UK arts figures have been recognized in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year. Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts Charles Saumarez Smith has been made a Knight, and former Director of the Honiman Museum Janet Vitmayer a Dame. Director of the Liverpool Biennial Sally Tallant, and artists Lubaina Himid and Rose Wylie have received OBEs. Ingrid Swenson, Director of PEER, has received an MBE.

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