The Monocle Minute

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 22 July 2017

Arts

Image: Alamy

Gently does it

Museums are reaching out to pastures new but must handle China with care.

From time to time, the world’s venerable art museums like to go walkabout in search of fresh audiences and a little largesse too. And the place that many are packing for at the moment is – wait for it – China. France’s Pompidou Centre announced this week that it’s going to open its first international outpost over in Shanghai, in a wing of the West Bund Art Museum, by 2019. Meanwhile London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is partnering with a Chinese state-owned holding company to create a gallery in the forthcoming Design Society institution in Shenzhen by the end of the year. In principle, overseas outreach is a fine thing. But lessons can be learnt from the 2000s when France’s Louvre and the Guggenheim dipped their toes into the Gulf and felt backlash over labour rights and brand stretch. An itinerant institution should always tread carefully.

Culture

Image: iStock

Stranger things

Peru is getting help to maintain its cultural sites from an unlikely source – South Korea.

In its bid to protect and manage its cultural assets, Peru has found an unlikely ally in South Korea. The Korean International Cooperation Agency (Koica), an arm of the ministry of foreign affairs, will spend $8m (€6.8m) sending Korean experts across the Pacific to train and assist their Peruvian counterparts to better manage their cultural sites. The overarching aim of this and other such Koica projects is to raise South Korea’s global presence and strengthen international ties. It certainly won’t be easy: Peru has the second highest number of Unesco-listed sites in South America and a preliminary survey by South Korean officials found that currently all cultural assets were managed poorly and separately. Besides sending people to assist, Koica is also developing a software system to manage all information relating to Peru’s cultural sites, from the number of staff working across the nation’s 130 national museums to the droves of people who tour Machu Picchu each year.

Books

Pretty in print

A collection charting graphic design in post-war America – from the Bauhaus to the Summer of Love.

Post-war US history is a vast and tough-to-tame topic but for a sideways glance at it, you could do worse than to inspect the pages of The Moderns, a colourful and artfully corralled tome that charts the work of 60 of the era’s finest graphic designers. Roughly bookended by the arrival of that Bauhaus bunch from Germany in the late 1930s and 1970, when the Summer of Love thawed into a winter of wariness, the book from New York imprint Abrams divides its biographies between émigrés (the 20 or so prime movers from Europe) and Americans. Chronicling abstract, colourful and creative work from the likes of Herb Lubalin, Massimo Vignelli, George Lois and Lance Wyman, The Moderns treads lightly and unpretentiously around the complicated age of “-isms” to be a compendium of beautiful and bold designs that wonderfully reflect the confidence – and relentless consumerism – of mid-century America.

Culture

Image: Alamy

Hip be to Square

Normally the City of London is barren at the weekends but a new arts and performance venture is looking to change all that.

Full of suited workers during the week and often a deserted ghost town at the weekend, London’s Square Mile could be transformed if a new initiative to create a cultural hub there succeeds. The ambition behind the Culture Mile project is to make the City’s north-west corner bustle every day of the week with a series of temporary art installations, as well as musical and theatre performances. Organised through a partnership between Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Barbican Centre, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of London and the City of London Corporation, the programme is slated to launch next year. Following the opening of The Ned, the latest hospitality venture from Soho House & Co founder Nick Jones which is also in the City, this London neighbourhood is getting a breath of fresh air.

From Monocle 24

Action! 07: Designing for Tom Ford

The Cinema Show

Meet the man who helped give ‘Nocturnal Animals’ the unmistakable look for which its director, Tom Ford, is so well regarded. From 2015’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ to Ryan Murphy’s ‘The Normal Heart’, Shane Valentino explains how he designs for the screen.

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