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Trump gets an education in the art of reversal



Trump’s most recent back-and-forth with school officials has taken on increasing urgency in the White House and the president’s campaign where there’s a belief that rebuilding the coronavirus-decimated economy — which can only happen if working parents have child care and can return to work — may be his best chance at winning reelection.

And with just over three months from Election Day, as the pandemic worsens in more than half the states, Trump is lagging behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in most national polls and battleground states. His standing has even fallen in traditionally red states.

But most polls still show Americans trust Trump over Biden on handling the economy, though those numbers have started to fall, too. Some allies also believe the push for in-person learning could play well with the women and suburban voters the president needs to remain in office.

“He’s desperate to reopen the economy for the election. He knows you can’t reopen the economy unless you reopen schools,” said Rep. Donna Shalala, a Democrat who represents Miami-Dade County and served as secretary of health and human services under President Bill Clinton. “How many lives are we willing to lose? To open the economy or open the schools, you’re making a judgment about your willingness to lose lives.”

Trump blasted Democrats for keeping schools closed, saying they were trying to hurt him politically, and pushed his own administration to revise its guidelines to favor school openings because he says children are less likely to get sick or transmit the virus. Public health experts say children are still vulnerable and that many aspects of the virus are still unknown

Still, Trump and his aides have continued to push the reopening of schools in speeches, interviews and social media. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos flew to North Carolina to visit a reopened private school to urge other schools to do the same.

“We have to remember that there is another side of this, keeping them out of school and keeping work closed is causing death also, economic harm but death for different reasons,” Trump said at a news conference Thursday. “But death, probably more death.”

While the president once threatened to cut off funding if schools didn’t offer in-person learning, he has acknowledged some schools may remain closed in his more scripted remarks from the White House podium and requested more than $100 billion from Congress for school districts. Senate Republicans propose giving more money to schools that offer in-person learning, but Democrats have balked at that proposal.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y), who supports Trump, dismissed the president’s prior remarks on funding, saying he has been clear this week that he backs providing schools the money they need to reopen in person.

“What we know about the online-only [learning] is it wasn’t working for a huge amount of our students, particularly those with special needs and disabilities,” she said. “And we have a responsibility … to ensure we’re meeting the needs of those students.”

Trump pulled back on his more bellicose threats after America’s school districts, large and small — even in some Republican-friendly states led by Republican allies — defied him.

Los Angeles and San Diego announced they will start the school year virtually. Then Houston did. Then Miami-Dade joined two other large south Florida districts in opting for online learning Wednesday. And the next day, Washington, D.C., reversed course and joined the largest districts in neighboring Virginia and Maryland to keep their doors closed.

So far, 11 out of the nation’s 15 largest districts announced they will keep students home in the fall, affecting nearly three million students, according to Education Week. Nearly every district allowing in-person learning only plans to do so part-time.

Elsie Arntzen, a Republican who was elected superintendent of public instruction in Montana, said she applauds Trump for his focus on learning and getting life back to normal but that her state’s school districts are making their own decisions.

“We are very much independent and relish that local control,” she said. “Any kind of word of a mandate, any kind of statement to say ‘Montana you shall and you must’ is extremely challenging…. One size does not fit all.”

School officials also say they didn’t believe Trump’s threat. Only Congress has the authority to withhold federal funding — most of which goes to schools in low-income areas and special education.

Trump now suggests if public schools are closed, money should be given to parents to use at a private educational institution instead. A group of states sued the administration over its push to use money in a previous coronavirus relief bill for private schools.

“The threat to withhold federal funds is bullying and like all forms of bullying, it is unacceptable,” said Michael Rice, Michigan’s superintendent of public instruction.

State and local officials aren’t the only ones pushing back. Trump has faced fierce opposition from teachers, unions and parents who worry about surges in infections if schools don’t get enough money to reopen with social distancing. Teachers in some states may even go on strike.

And the president retreating from his demands — as he did at other points on reopening states, the Republican convention and myriad other issues — may be driven in part by a backlash in the polls.

Fifty-three percent of voters said they were somewhat or strongly opposed to fully reopening K-12 schools or daycare, according to a recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

“You’re seeing an inconsistency on the part of the president depending on what audience he is in front of,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

Biden, who is largely trying to make the race a referendum on Trump’s response to the coronavirus, has started criticizing him for not providing the money and resources needed to open the schools and released his own plan to reopen schools safely when they are ready — and not before.

Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt, a Biden supporter who is considered a national expert on education, said Trump is hurting schools by trying to tell them what to do. “We have to trust the local people to make those decisions and we have to stand behind them, not threaten them,” he said.

This week, the Democratic National Committee began airing a new ad in battleground states criticizing Trump’s push to open schools following criticism that he initially downplayed the coronavirus, failed to quickly produce tests and supplies and then pushed the states to reopen early.

“Do you trust him to do what’s best for our children?” the narrator asks. “Because this is not a test. Trump is failing.”



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Politics

Senate Report: Opaque Art Market Helped Oligarchs Evade Sanctions


Companies linked to two Russian oligarchs exploited the opaqueness of the art world to buy high-value art, bypassing U.S. sanctions, according to a report by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that was published on Wednesday.

American companies are barred from doing business with sanctioned individuals. But the report said the oligarchs, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg, two brothers who are close to President Vladimir P. Putin of Russia, were able to hide behind an intermediary who made the purchases on behalf of companies owned or funded by the Rotenbergs.

The purchases of works at auction houses and through private art dealers in New York totaled $18.4 million in value and were made after the Rotenbergs came under United States sanctions in 2014.

The report said the financial transactions were enabled by the secrecy and anonymity with which the art market operates and it called for tighter rules to force greater transparency. The investigators concluded that the auction houses — including Christie’s and Sotheby’s — and private sellers never knew the true identity of the oligarchs who were buying the art, but they said that was a loophole that needs to be closed for a sanctions policy to be truly effective.

“It is shocking that U.S. banking regulations don’t currently apply to multimillion-dollar art transactions, and we cannot let that continue,” Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, who is chairman of the subcommittee, said in a statement. “The art industry currently operates under a veil of secrecy allowing art advisers to represent both sellers and buyers masking the identities of both parties, and as we found, the source of the funds. This creates an environment ripe for laundering money and evading sanctions.”

None of the auction houses or dealers were accused of any wrongdoing. The report said they stopped doing business with the intermediary as soon as they learned of the Senate investigators’ concerns.

In a statement, Christie’s said it welcomed “the opportunity to work with U.S. legislators on appropriate and enforceable A.M.L. guidelines for all tiers of the art trade here.” Sotheby’s said in a statement that it “takes Anti-Money Laundering and United States sanctions policies extremely seriously and voluntarily participated in the Senate Subcommittee’s investigation.”

The Rotenberg brothers were the subject of sanctions in March 2014, in an expansion of sanctions to wealthy businessmen with close ties to President Putin that came in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

The Rotenbergs had amassed fortunes through their ties to the government, the administration said. They were awarded an estimated $7 billion in contracts for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. President Putin later entrusted the construction of a bridge to Crimea to Arkady Rotenberg, a longtime friend and judo partner.

Despite the prohibition against U.S. entities doing business with the oligarchs, the Senate investigators traced numerous art transactions in a period of just a few months following the imposition of the sanctions back to anonymous shell companies that they said were linked to the Rotenbergs

The report identifies a Moscow-based art adviser named Gregory Baltser, whom it described as a naturalized U.S. citizen, as an intermediary who bought art for companies it said were linked to the Rotenbergs. Mr. Baltser typically operated through his company, Baltzer, a private art agency and club, that he established in 2013, the report said.

In one case, in May 2014, Baltzer bought multiple works at a Sotheby’s sale in New York for $6.8 million, including works by Henry Moore, Marc Chagall and Georges Braque. A Belize company called Steamort, which the report links to the Rotenbergs, wired funds from an Estonian bank account to Baltzer’s London account and from there to Sotheby’s bank in New York.

In another case, in June 2014, a company called Highland Ventures bought a painting, René Magritte’s “La Poitrine,” for $7.5 million via a private New York art dealer, with funds it traced to a company owned by Arkady Rotenberg.

Just a few months later, in November, Baltzer bought a painting, “Un port sous la lune,” by the artist Tamara De Lempicka, at Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Day Sale in New York, for $665,000 using funds wired by Highland Ventures and Steamort.

In a statement, a lawyer representing Mr. Baltser, David A. Vicinanzo, said Baltzer “maintains a strict compliance program, and has never conducted any transaction prohibited by any sanctions list.”

“Baltzer can confirm that neither it nor Gregory Baltser has ever, at any time, represented or transacted in any way with Boris or Arkady Rotenberg.” the statement said.

It also said that Baltzer had relied on a list of sanctioned entities compiled by the U.S. Treasury Department and noted that the companies cited by the Senate investigators as being tied to the Rotenbergs were not included on that list.

“Baltzer had urged the Subcommittee not to make unfair and untrustworthy allegations on the basis of information from unconfirmed sources,” the statement said, “and is deeply disappointed that the Subcommittee has chosen to do just that.”

Investigators said Mr. Baltser had refused multiple requests to be interviewed by the subcommittee when he could have laid out his position.

A representative for the Rotenbergs said in a statement that they had never circumvented sanctions.

“Any statement asserting that any member of the Rotenberg family ever contemplated using art as a money movement tool is totally absurd,” the representative said. “All transactions with works of art made by Rotenberg family members or on their behalf were made openly, strictly with lawful personal purposes and always on market terms.”

The art market lacks the formal regulatory requirements that the Bank Secrecy Act imposes on financial institutions. Instead, the industry relies on voluntary money-laundering policies to identify counterparties in transactions, but the report said in the case of the Rotenberg transactions, these were easily circumvented.

Any due diligence carried out was only done on Mr. Baltser, the report found, satisfying the voluntary auction houses’ anti-money-laundering and sanctions policies, but failing to determine who was really behind the acquisitions.

“Despite having voluntary A.M.L. and sanctions policies, auction houses failed to ask basic questions of Mr. Baltser, including for whom he purchased art,” the report concluded. “This allowed Mr. Baltser to continue to purchase art despite the imposition of sanctions by the United States on the Rotenbergs, completely undermining any action taken by the auction houses to block transactions by sanctioned individuals.”

To force greater transparency on the art industry, the report called for Congress to amend the Bank Secrecy Act to add businesses handling transactions involving high-value art. This would bring the United States, and the New York art industry, more in line with recent European Union changes, it said, requiring the verification of the identity of art sellers, buyers and ultimately who owns the art or benefits from its sale.

“There are reforms that we know can be put in place to ensure that wealthy bad actors cannot use valuable works of art to evade U.S. sanctions,” said Senator Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware and the ranking member on the committee.

The report’s authors said the activities the investigation was able to trace were likely only the “tip of the iceberg” of illicit activities in the art market.

The investigation was started after the ineffectiveness of the sanctions became apparent, since Russia has not withdrawn from Ukraine, and the report’s authors said the activities they had uncovered raised questions about the effectiveness of sanctions policy.

“If wealthy Russian oligarchs can purchase millions in art for personal investment or enjoyment while under sanction, it follows that their businesses or hidden resources could also continue accessing the U.S. financial system,” the report said.



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Lifestyle

The Surreal Art of Emma Rodriguez (Mooncrab)


CONSCIOUS LIFESTYLE INTERVIEWS ARTIST EMMA RODRIGUEZ (MOONCRAB)

Slightly real, slightly surreal, artist Emma Rodriguez’s mystical landscapes transport you into an alternate reality that we’d very much like to visit in the flesh, or at the very least, our dreams.

Conscious Lifestyle Magazine: How have your life experiences influenced you art?

Emma Rodriguez: My art is based a lot around my own mental health. For me, it is a means of escape—not only the creative process but the final image represents a way of getting out of the world that surrounds me and transporting me into another place.

When I go through low stages in my life, sometimes I feel that is when I am most inspired to create something that represents the opposite of what I’m going through, or sometimes, even the exact thing I am going through.

CLM: Where do you draw your inspiration for your work?

ER: I draw a lot of inspiration from surrealist artists like Dali and De Chirico, and the whole surrealist movement in general as it was something I was very interested in during my time at university. I always intend to create something “other worldly”.

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CLM: What messages does your artwork convey or what do you hope it sparks in viewers?

ER: I have had a lot of messages from people who said my art has helped them through tough times and has healed them in some kind of way, which is beautiful to me. I create the art for my own mindfulness and self-care, and to know that it helps others with their own situations is one of the main reasons why I carry on making what I make.

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CLM: How do you create your artwork? What is the process of birthing a piece like for you?

ER: I can’t say I really have a process; I never really have when making art. I think I just get so excited by the vision of a final piece that I go straight into making what I have in my mind,

and then it either works or it doesn’t. All my work is digital, so I first source the images I imagine in my head and form them together using Photoshop.

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CLM: If you could share one important piece of wisdom or message with the world, what would it be?

ER: If I have learned anything from experience: it’s okay to take a break. If you need a day to stay in bed all day and feel rubbish, then go ahead. You need to rest and recharge and give yourself permission to take a break from trying to be productive and pretending that you’re okay all the time when you’re not.

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Emma Rodriguez (also known as mooncrab) is from Bristol, England. She graduated from university with a degree in drawing and printmaking. Her primary focus is on digital mediums and landscape-based work. Her art is inspired by her own ups and downs, as it’s often these moments in which she desires to create something that helps her get away. Her work can be found at @mooncrab.jpg on instagram and mooncrab.co.uk

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Breaking New

A 10-year-old girl has sent more than 1,500 art kits to kids in foster care and homeless shelters during the coronavirus pandemic


Chelsea Phaire, a 10-year-old from Danbury, Connecticut, has sent more than 1,500 children in homeless shelters and foster care homes art kits to give them something uplifting to do when they’re feeling down.

The kits — which include markers, crayons, paper, coloring books, colored pencils, and gel pens — are sent to schools and shelters across the country as part of Chelsea’s Charity, an organization founded by Chelsea and her parents.

“Since she was seven, she was begging me and her dad to start a charity,” Candace Phaire, Chelsea’s mom, told CNN.

“She was so persistent, every couple of months she would ask, ‘Are we starting Chelsea’s Charity yet?’ When she was turning 10, she asked us again, and we decided it was time to go for it.”

The rising 6th grader launched Chelsea’s Charity on her birthday in August 2019, when she asked party guests to donate art supplies instead of getting her birthday gifts.

Chelsea getting ready
After her birthday party, Chelsea used the donations to send out her first 40 art kits to a homeless shelter in New York. The family then set up an Amazon wishlist full of art supplies. Every time they get enough donations, they pack up the kits and deliver them to kids in person.

In just the first five months, Chelsea and her mom sent out nearly 1,000 kits to children in homeless shelters, foster care homes, women’s shelters, and schools impacted by gun violence.

Before the pandemic, Chelsea was able to travel with her mom across the country to meet the kids in-person, and even teaches them some of her favorite drawing tips.

Now, schools are closed, and social distancing precautions will not allow Chelsea to physically interact with the kids as much. Instead, she and her mom are mailing the kits.

Since March, when schools began to close, the family has sent over 1,500 kits to schools, shelters, and foster homes in 12 states across the US.

“I feel good inside knowing how happy they are when they get their art kits,” Chelsea told CNN. “I have definitely grown as a person because of this. Now my dream is to meet every kid in the entire world and give them art. Who knows, maybe if we do that and then our kids do that, we’ll have world peace!”

Helping traumatized children through art

When Chelsea was 8, she lost someone very close to her heart. Her swim instructor, who she said she considered family, was killed from gun violence in the middle of their swim season.

That was the moment art went from being Chelsea’s hobby to her therapy.

Knowing that other children have also gone through trauma inspired Chelsea to help make art more accessible to help others cope with their feelings.

“Art therapy is being prescribed a lot more to support the mental health of young kids, especially those with social and emotional deficiencies,” Phaire, who is an early childhood education professor and former teacher, told CNN.

“Now with Covid-19, a lot of kids in shelters and also children in foster homes might not have access to art supplies they usually find in school. It’s also mental health awareness month, so that’s definitely motivating us to ramp it up send even more kits.”

With this year’s added stress of a global pandemic and nationwide shutdown, it’s more important than ever to make sure kids have ways to cope with the emotions that come with adjusting to today’s new reality.

For kids in already stressful situations such as homelessness, this can be even more difficult.

One of the organizations that received art kits from Chelsea is James Storehouse, a non-profit that serves children in foster care “from cribs to college.”

“When a child or youth enters foster care, they usually have no belongings of their own,” Stacy DeWitt, James Storehouse executive director, told CNN. “It’s been a great addition to be able to offer the art kits, so the children and youth have a creative outlet to process their emotions during this traumatic time in their lives.”

She said the kits have also “been fantastic for foster parents who have children at home during the stay-at-home orders.”

“It gives the children and teens a fun creative outlet to channel their energy because they can’t be in the classroom right now. Chelsea’s kits have been a blessing to many children in hard places and have brought them joy.”

While it may take her a little bit longer to reach every kid in the world, thanks to Chelsea’s kindness, thousands of kids all over the country have at least one reason to smile.



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Breaking New

Art Howe: Former MLB player and manager is in the ICU battling coronavirus, report says



Howe, 73, told CNN affiliate KPRC 2 that he is in the intensive care unit.

Howe said he first began feeling symptoms on May 3, describing chills that made him shake “like a leaf,” the outlet reported. He was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned he tested positive and went into isolation.

According to Johns Hopkins, more than 1.4 million people in the United States have contracted coronavirus since the first reported cases in January.

Howe told the station he felt “total fatigue” and lost his sense of taste while in isolation for the virus. He said the sensory loss was unlike anything he had experienced before.

“My taste buds still aren’t there. I know I should eat but nothing at all makes you want to eat,” Howe told the station.

Howe was taken to the hospital by ambulance Tuesday when his symptoms worsened, according to KPRC. He was still in the ICU Thursday.

Improvements to his health are slow, he told the station, and he says he must go 24 hours without a fever to be released.

Howe played in the majors from 1976 to 1985, with stints in Pittsburgh, Houston and St. Louis, according to the MLB website. When his playing career ended, he managed several teams including the Astros and A’s. He was portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the Oscar nominated film “Moneyball.”



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Celebrity Entertaiment

James Cameron unveils concept art for ‘Avatar 2’, gets slammed on Twitter



James Cameron opened a digital Pandora’s box.

The director unveiled concept art for the much-anticipated sequel to the 2009 film “Avatar,” but rather than exciting fans, he got eviscerated by critics over the decade-long gap between films.

The concept art, which teases lush landscapes for the upcoming “Avatar 2,” debuted Monday at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The images were then posted by the official “Avatar” Twitter account with the caption: “You won’t just return to Pandora — you’ll explore new parts of the world.”

However, the sequel might be too late for fans, who promptly ripped Cameron on Twitter.

“Someone needs to sit James Cameron down, hold his hand, and say in soothing, calming tone ‘there are literally three people excited about Avatar 2,’” one person wrote. “It’s going to be hard, but he needs to know. It’s time.”

Others joked about how long it has taken Cameron, who recently saw “Avengers: Endgame” eclipse “Avatar” in becoming the highest-grossing film in history, to make a sequel. “Are we not past the concept art phase of ‘Avatar 2’ yet I thought James Cameron already filmed like five more movies or something,” one tweeted.

Another Twitter user joked about the gap between the films, writing: “Does anyone even remember what happened in ‘Avatar’? Bc all that I remember is weird ponytail sex.”

Production on “Avatar 2” was delayed several times over the past few years. Cameron called the setback “an epic undertaking . . . not unlike building the Three Gorges Dam,” the world’s largest hydropower project in China.

Plot details on the upcoming sci-fi epic remain sparse, however, “Avatar 2” will reportedly feature “the future generation of Pandora,” producer Jon Landau told Entertainment Weekly. Zoe Saldana, Sam Worthington, Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver will be reprising their roles. The film will introduce the Metkayina, a new Na’vi tribe ruled by Tonowari played by Cliff Curtis (“Fear The Walking Dead”).

In a Monday interview with CNET’s Roadshow, Cameron promised that “Avatar 2” would feature more vehicles and other gadgetry. And the “Avatar”-themed cars aren’t limited to the big screen. James Cameron recently announced on Twitter that the team had partnered with Mercedes-Benz on a real-life “#VISIONAVTR concept car, inspired by the world of Pandora.”

“Avatar 2” is slated for a Dec. 17, 2021, release, followed by three more sequels in 2023, 2025 and 2027, according to Variety.





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Breaking New

Art Basel gallery wall vandal appears in court – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports


MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A man accused of vandalizing a gallery wall at Art Basel Miami Beach has turned down a plea deal.

Roderick Webber, 46, allegedly wrote on the walls where a taped banana — that was sold for $120,000 — was once on display in Miami Beach in December.

Cellphone video showed the words, “Epstein didn’t kill himself” written in red lipstick on the empty wall.

A day before the Massachusetts resident’s alleged stunt, New York-based performance artist David Datuna ripped the banana off the wall and ate it. He called the act, “Hungry artist.”

Datuna was able to walk free that same day. However, Webber wasn’t so lucky.

“I just heard everyone talking about the banana every day, and I said, ‘You know, this is BS,’” Webber said. “It wasn’t just that we’re calling out the rich and super elite at Art Basel. It’s calling out the rich and the super elite — the powerful people that just do whatever they want. I have no regrets whatsoever. You know, being censored seems to be par for the course, so I’ll just continue to stand up for what’s right and what I believe in.”

He was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, despite Webber’s claims that it was performance art.

“According to the standard precedent they set, it’s not damage whatsoever,” Webber said. “I therefore claimed total innocence when I went in there in the courtroom.”

The judge gave Webber the opportunity to pay a $320 fine and do some community service to close the case, but he declined the deal.

“What I did at Galerie Perrotin — not a big deal,” Webber said. “If we’re continuing the theme of performance art, this is what needs to be done. The reality that we’re moving forward in is a dystopian, Orwellian future, and we need to speak out against that. If you’re an artist, and you’re not speaking to these things, then what the hell are you doing? You’re in the wrong profession.”

Webber has asked for a trial and is due back in court on Feb. 19.

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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These homes have garages that look more like art galleries


A gallery in which to house and display that collection, of course.

Los Angeles based home builder Roman James and high-end automakers like Aston Martin are giving the space formerly known as the “garage” the ultimate makeover.

In a Beverly Hills home, James recently designed a 3,000 square-foot car gallery that comes complete with a bar and a lounge. The home is currently on the market for $45 million.

In August, Aston Martin launched a Galleries and Lairs division to design and build bespoke areas within a home to feature a car collection the way you would a collection of fine art or wine.

“There is a space to have a private tasting room, a sculpture garden, or gallery for art in their homes,” says Simon Sproule, chief marketing officer of Aston Martin. “But no one had really explored the idea of a car collector being able to display their cars in a space that is designed just for that purpose.”

‘This is where your car lives’

More than a place to keep cars, James envisioned the car gallery as a place to socialize, appreciate and maybe even tinker. With an adjacent bar and lounge, an 88-foot wide projection screen and black marble floors, the gallery he designed is a place for displaying and playing.

“This is part of the home,” he said. “This is where your car lives.”

The underground car gallery at this Beverly Hills home can house 7 cars and is adjacent to a lounge.

The gallery in the Beverly Hills home can house up to ten cars. There is a turntable to move cars around, mirrors on the walls to see the cars on all sides and a quarter-million-dollar fire-rated glass panel between the garage and the lounge area.

“We’ve created a lounge where you don’t necessarily have to be in the garage to really enjoy it,” James said. “If you’re having some sort of a social event, you can hang out at the bar in the lounge, but the car is always displayed well. I think that’s what people are looking at.”

The lounge, just off the car gallery, is a socalizing space with a view of the cars.

One of the challenges of integrating a garage into the home are fire and building codes which require a thick barrier between a garage and living area. Usually that is a thick wall or glass that has copper mesh in it. Adding that transparency is a critical part of the experience, said James.

“When you see something that’s completely transparent, that’s when the costs go up and the coolness factor really goes up, too.”

A bit of a car buff himself and knowing that some car collectors enjoy tinkering with their cars, James created workbenches and storage space for owners or their mechanics to roll away the cabinets of tools car lovers need.

James said he is fielding requests to build a car lair in London and has also gotten similar requests from Russian and Chinese billionaires.

Designing a home around a car

Since launching four months ago, Aston Martin has developed a series of renderings of possible car galleries to spur the imagination. Homeowners appreciate the designs, says Sproule, but also the attention to technical detail including managing humidity levels and creating an atmosphere to protect and preserve the cars.

A rendering of an in-home car gallery, as imagined by designers at Aston Martin.

While the company hasn’t sold any galleries since the launch, Sproule said there have been a number of developers and private individuals who have expressed interest. “I have a high level of confidence we’ll be engaging in projects in the next year.”

A concept design by Aston Martin of a car on display in the home.

Sproule says there is no upper limit to what these car lairs may cost, but seven figures will typically be the starting point.

“The gallery brings in a bit of Hollywood and a bit of entertainment,” he said. “There’s a desire for a bit of theater around showpieces.”



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Breaking New

Pharrell Williams Gets ‘Happy’ With Broward Students At NSU Art Museum – CBS Miami


FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — There is a lot to be happy about for a group of Broward County middle school students who got a lot more than expected during a trip to the museum Tuesday.

Musician and producer Pharrell Williams, whose song ‘Happy’ created the ear worm of the last decade, surprised the students while they were walking through the exhibits at the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale.

Williams was joined by artists Sam Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III to share messages about kindness and happiness through art and music to the students from St. Gregory School and Sunrise Middle School.

Pharrell Williams speads to Broward students at NSU Art Museum on Dec. 3, 2019. (CBS4)

The trio are part of the artist collaborative FriendsWithYou, which is described as “whimsical artwork” and is part of the current exhibition Happy!

Students like 13-year-old John Silva were star struck,. He was one of the hundreds who cheered with excitement over seeing his idol.

“Really emotional like coming down to Fort Lauderdale  just for Pharrell Williams to be down, I think art moves a lot of people, it inspires them to make things and those great things inspire other people to make other great things and it’s just a complete beautiful cycle,” said Silva.

Pharrell spoke to the students about creating meaning in your work, creating something that makes you feel something, hopefully, happy.

“I’m interested in the work that sticks with you so the minute that you look at it is does something to you, it makes you have a visceral reaction,” said Pharrell.

Pharrell Williams speads to Broward students at NSU Art Museum on Dec. 3, 2019. (CBS4)

The exhibition Happy! explores the pursuit of happiness through contemporary art and since it’s the holiday season, there’s no better time to spread messages of happiness and kindness.

The exhibit will be on display at the NSU Art Museum through July 5, 2020.



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Breaking New

Baltimore Museum of Art will only buy women’s art in 2020


As part of the BMA’s 2020 Vision initiative, the museum will also showcase at least 20 exhibitions featuring work from a diverse range of women, including Elissa Blount Moorhead.

For Moorhead, the first time she saw herself reflected in a work of art, it wasn’t in a museum. It was in her parent’s house, going through her dad’s record albums. The Funkadelic album covers of Pedro Bell featured black women in futuristic settings, surrounded by bright oranges and blues.

“I just remember looking at the album covers and reading them, and recognizing they were black women,” Moorhead said. “And thinking they looked like people I knew, even though they were psychedelic.”

Now an established artist, Moorhead’s work will be featured in an exhibition next year. Other exhibitions include works already featured by Georgia O’Keeffe, Grace Hartigan and others, as part of the museum’s plan.

The BMA’s decision was more than two years in the making.

“I would say the 2020 Vision is just an extension of a code of ethics that has been deeply embedded within the museum,” said Christopher Bedford, the museum’s director. “Building a permanent collection is building a story for all time.”

The decision came about under the leadership of women throughout the museum. The board of trustees is chaired by Clair Zamoiski Segal and Asma Naeem is chief curator.

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The BMA’s move was warmly received by activists who were pushing for greater diversity in the art world for decades.

“There are so many women who ought to be honored and known,” said longtime women’s art advocate Cindy Nemser. “I say it’s a beginning. Imagine if this had happened in 1972.”

The BMA’s acquisitions budget for next year is roughly $2 million. Purchasing an artist’s work goes deeper than just temporarily borrowing it from another collection. It funds the artist and allows curators to feature her for years to come.

“Purchasing art changes the nature of the permanent collection,” said Amelia Jones, professor and vice dean of research at the Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California. “We could have 150 years of just collecting women and that might start to address it.”

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Moorhead hopes that a major change will renew museums’ importance in the 21st century.

“I’m hoping that all of us can start to think about how patriarchy and hierarchy has really diminished people’s interest in museums and cultural centers,” Moorhead said. “This will enliven your audience. It’s just the right thing to do.”

She hopes her work will help other adults and children feel seen, like the Pedro Bell album covers.

“I want to make work that’s not just a reflection, but really an extension of who I am and who we may be,” Moorhead said. “And when they walk through, they see something that is resonant and that reminds them I’m there, on the other side.”



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