Art in The Week That Was…

A selection of creative current affairs and events which have hit the headlines…


Glasgow School of Art before its fire this week.


Glaswegian singer Annie Lennox said of the fire on Instagram: ‘So sad and disappointed for everyone affected by this 2nd devastating fire… (who would believe??!!) at Glasgow’s historic and renowned Charles Rennie Mackintosh art school. ..
the renovators, students, staff, alumni, noble fire fighters and everyone in Glasgow.’

The iconic Glasgow School of Art building was reduced to ruins this week when a fire ripped through the building.  Designed by renowned architect Charles Rennie Macintosh, the structure was reportedly engulfed by the blaze by 11.19pm on Friday.  Recently, a restoration project had been underway to repair the building which had already been fire-damaged 4 years ago.  Fire Chiefs state they are confident they will discover the cause of the incident, but that it will take a prolonged period of investigation.  Reparations have now been estimated at anywhere between £100 – £200 million.  A slew of Scottish arts professionals have made public expressions of grief at the disaster – Billy Connolly, Muriel Spark, Annie Lennox, John Byrne et al – and Paul Sweeney (Labour MP for Glasgow North East) stated that ‘the Mack will endure after being escorted round the building yesterday.  He further commented:-

‘Whatever needs to happen to make this building realised again as Macintosh’s vision has to happen…’.


Autumn Ying commented of her piece: ‘While Princess Diana won’t get to see both her daughters-in-law in reality, I’m thinking of visualising this scene as a touching tribute to the late mother of Prince William and Prince Harry…’.

Following the recent royal wedding, artist Autumn Ying has made a touching tribute to the late Princess Diana.  In her works recently published on social media, she has depicted the popular royal along with her daughters-in-law, The Duchess of Cambridge and The Duchess of Sussex.  The 3 subjects appear in their wedding dresses in 2 of the pieces.  Ying is an up-and-coming fashion illustrator, graphic designer and jewellery designer, and was inspired by the notion of bringing fairy tales to life.  The prints will be available for sale with proceeds donated to help children in Cambodia.


Camden’s Netley Primary School and Centre for Autism were invited to visit the ‘Space for Waste’ at ZSL London Zoo before its unveiling to the general public.

A whole building has been constructed at ZSL London Zoo using 15,000 plastic bottles found in and around London and its waterways.  The architectural installation entitled the ‘Space of Waste’ was commissioned by the Zoological Society London and – following 3 weeks of planning – took 3 days to build.  Created by London-based artist and architect Nick Wood, the 16ft high structure includes bottles fished out of The Thames under the banner of ZSL’s #oneless campaign. The recent unveiling ceremony marked the start of the site’s Superheroes and Villains event, which celebrates key figures in the world of conservation.  Space of Waste will house the programme’s super-villain (‘Plastico’) who will make appearances throughout the Summer.


The facial reconstruction of Scottish poet Robert Burns has led to a 4-D digital version of the writer’s head being paired with a Scottish male voice reading his poem To A Mouse (Burns aficionado and poet Rab Wilson).  This is currently on show at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

Scientists have recently sought to recreate the famous faces of subjects who lived centuries ago.  From Henry IV of France to Nicolaus Copernicus, from Johann Sebastian Bach to perhaps even Nefertiti, Paleoartists have attempted to flesh out the archaeological and skeletal evidence to reveal what these people looked like.  When compared to their artistic likeness, the paleoart version seems to lend credibility to previous portraiture and literary descriptions.  Painted depictions of Robert Burns have been particularly accurate.

A collaboration between 2 universities – University of Dundee and Liverpool John Moores University (Face Lab) – has reconstructed his face using the latest digital technology from a partial cast of his skull.  Lead scientist Professor Caroline Wilkinson said:-

‘This real-life animation of Robert Burns has brought the poetry of this Scots Bard back to life for generations to come. It will help to promote Scottish culture and to visualise his charismatic and creative personality.’.

Also this week, archaeologists working in the Philippines are thought to have revised the scientific record on ancient man’s residency there.  A ‘one in a million find’ on the Philippines’ largest island Luzon, yielded butchered Rhino bones and various cooking tools.  Using digital dating techniques, the team realised the find dated to between 701,000 and 727,000 years ago, 600,000 years earlier than previously thought.


Daniel Lee will start his new role as Bottega Veneta’s Creative Director on 1st July.

Bottega Veneta have named British designer, Daniel Lee, as their new Creative Director this week.  He will replace Tomas Maier, who has served the company in this role for over 17 years.  Lee’s bio includes a directorship at Céline, and his minimalist approach to accessories and leather goods chimes well with Bottega Veneta’s creative vision.  The luxury goods brand has recently seen sales slow and drop by 9% to $1.4 billion in 2016.  CEO Claus Dietrich Lahrs stated:-

‘Daniel Lee has a deep understanding of the house’s current challenges, both in terms of creation and development… He will bring to Bottega Veneta a new and distinctive creative language that will continue building the house’s success based on the ambitious foundations already developed over recent years.’.


Netflix series House of Cards purportedly sacked lead actor Kevin Spacey in readiness for Season 6, after a slew of sexual harassment claims concerning the veteran Hollywood actor hit global media.

Netflix have allegedly banned film crews from ‘looking at each other for longer than 5 seconds’ in the latest #metoo crackdown.  The media giant – taking pride in its anti-harassment policy – has introduced yet more training measures for staff.  These also include no flirting, no asking for another worker’s contact details and no lingering hugs.  Netflix was significantly effected by the sexual harassment claims on its House of Cards show in the past year.  A set runner from Black Mirror reportedly revealed to The Sun newspaper:-

‘Senior staff went to a harassment meeting to learn what is and isn’t appropriate.  Looking at anyone longer than 5 seconds is considered creepy…’.

Also this week, the progress of new upskirting legislation was quashed in the Houses of Parliament when Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope blocked the motion.  Had it been successful, the new Bill would have made it unlawful to look/intrude up a skirt visually or via the use of media equipment in any voyeuristic manner.

Hollywood A-list actress, Angelina Jolie, supported women’s rights in her role as UN Embassador again recently when she appeared in the FROW of a refugee fashion show.  The show was led by a group of sexual violence survivors at the girls empowerment programme, RefuSHE, Kenya.  The actress was clearly impressed by the outfits on the catwalk and warmly expressed her enthusiasm, to the girls’ delight.  The programme is clearly enabling its participants to motivate one another and bolster each other’s confidence after horrific experiences.


Pride Month celebrated in Athens, Greece.

Pride Month 2018 was celebrated with great vigour throughout the world.  The now-synonymous symbol of pride culture – the rainbow – featured heavily throughout processions, globally.  The month of June was originally chosen for this purpose in order to honour the 1969 Stonewall Riots of Manhattan.  The Library of Congress states:-

‘The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible. In major cities across the nation the “day” soon grew to encompass a month-long series of events. Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBT Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world…’.

Asia’s annual Dragon Boat Festival also took place this week.  Also known as Duanwu in Mandarin and Tuen Ng in Cantonese, the festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese calendar.  It marks the Summer Solstice, welcoming a new season of health and well-being.

The festivities commemorate an exiled Chinese poet/official named Qu Yuan. During China’s Warring States period – a conflict more than 2,000 years ago – China was divided into several kingdoms.  Qu was a royal adviser in the state of Chu, and tried warn the king of impending danger, only to be exiled.  When Qu heard of the invasion into his country, he drowned himself in despair in the Miluo River. In a bid to save him, locals paddled frantically through the water, beating drums to warn fish away from his body and tossing rice dumplings into the water as ritualistic offerings.

These events are now remembered by taking part in regattas and eating traditional Chinese dumplings.


The original band members of The Spice Girls, as recently seen posted on each other’s social media accounts.

Amidst talk of stress and frustration between band members, it is now reported that the impending Spice Girls’ reunion tour will no longer take place.  The tour was touted to start on 27th September, but various media outlets have revealed it has been cancelled.  An insider allegedly told The Sun:-

‘The Spice Girls are in disarray. While Victoria has always insisted she’d never tour, the others believed Simon would get her on board…  They had a £150 million proposal in the offing — with a headline performance at Wembley — and even Mel C, who had previously been reluctant, was signed up.’.

In recent months the girls have been keen to post pictures of the group together on social media, with Gerry Horner and Emma Lee Bunton seeming particularly close, but to no avail.  Meanwhile, Victoria Beckham’s fashion label and career are going from strength-to-strength with her recently celebrating 10 years in the fashion industry during her NYFW show.  The Washington Post mooted:-

‘It’s time to start respecting Victoria Beckham as a fashion designer’


[Credits:  Feature image – Glasgow School of Art fire (;;; Instagram – officialannielennox; BBC News;;;;;;;; Facebook – @UNHCR; the UN Refugee Agency;;;; YouTube;; The Sun; getty images;]







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