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Culture

Fact-Checkers Want Facebook on Their Side

December 12, 2016 by Gail Nussbaum in Culture, News and Media

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Facebook, USA, captured during the session ‘The Next Digital Experience’ at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2009. Courtesy of the World Economic Forum.

It has been a rough year for facts, as fake news has been spreading through the media with little restraint and serious consequences. Three of the largest fact-checking organizations, Tampa Bay Times’ PolitiFact; FactCheck.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center; and Fact Checker, a Washington Post project, joined together and send a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, asking him to do what he can to reign in and stop propagating false stories and fake news.

Right after election day the “Big Three” called on Zuckerberg to “start and open conversation on the principles that could underpin a more accurate news ecosystem on its News Feed.”

The fact checkers admit that the burden is too big for them to handle alone, especially now that Donald Trump, known for disseminating misinformation himself has won the election. Facebook was highly criticized during the election season and immediately following it for allowing some of the most egregious lies to circulate freely, giving legitimacy to such blatant falsehoods as: the endorsement of Trump by Pope Francis; the murder-suicide of an FBI agent who was investigating the Hillary Clinton email controversy; and more.

At first Zuckerberg laughed off the criticism, but later said that he would “take misinformation seriously.”

The fact checkers continuously pointed out the exaggerations and out and out lies circulating around the social media world, but their objections were often overrun by false headlines. They say that only Facebook has the reach and influence that can truly cripple the spread of fake news. The fact checkers would like to see Facebook take real action now, before the new president is inaugurated.

“Facebook has completely turbo-powered fake news sites,” says Alexios Mantzarlis, director and editor of the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network. “But it’s also probably the first platform that could measure how these things spread, and how we could push back.”

Marijuana on the Ballot in Five States

November 6, 2016 by Gail Nussbaum in Culture

Medical Marijuana 3This Tuesday’s election bodes well for supporters of the legalization of marijuana. Five states appear to be favoring legalization of the drug. If its status changes in just some of these states, the national discussion on the legalization of pot could take a more liberal turn.

The most important single state which will vote on the status of marijuana on Tuesday is California. This enormous state is the sixth largest economy in the world, and is home to 40 million people. The state has had a de-criminalization status for marijuana in place for about 20 years, meaning that it is relatively easy to get a license for “medicinal” use for almost any condition from insomnia to inability to concentrate. Now the state looks like it will give marijuana full legal status. If it does, that move is a game-changer for the federal position on legalization.

“I’ve been calling 2016 the game-over year,” said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legalization group. “Because if California wins, that’s going to put enormous pressure on Congress to end marijuana prohibition. If all five win, that’s even better. If California legalizes, it’s going to become much harder for Congress not to do anything.”

The other four states voting on whether to legalize pot are Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, all with slight leads in favor of legalization.

Today there are four states and one district in which marijuana is legal for recreational use. Washington and Colorado were the first to pass laws to legalize with Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC following just two years later. Voters in Arkansas, North Dakota and Florida will decide whether to permit the use of marijuana for medical reasons. Montanans will vote to remove or not remove restrictions from the state’s current medical marijuana law. If all of these states pass the more liberal marijuana laws medical marijuana will be legal in a clear majority of US states.

Academy of Art University Holds Graduation/Runway Fashion Show

May 30, 2016 by Gail Nussbaum in Culture

02_SHOP657CollectionThe San Francisco based design school, Academy of Art University, recently held their graduation fashion show, during which they awarded honorary doctorates to designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte.

The graduation was held on May 11. In addition to the honorary degrees bestowed on the Mulleavys by the Academy of Art President Dr. Elisa Stephens, a certificate of honor was also presented by the office of Mayor Edwin M. Lee of San Francisco.

The graduation was a runway fashion show including featured collections from Academy of Art students with fashion, knitwear, menswear, technical, textile, jewelry/metal arts design majors. Also included in the show were examples from the SHOP657 Collection. Created by Cherish Bai, Jayme Goodman, Meeneshwer Madhu, Sylvia Rivera, Soji Solarin, Yuki Zhang, Yun Ling Tham Timmy and Neysa Makizuru, SHOP657 is a private-label collection featuring items created by fashion, textile, jewelry and metal arts design as well as fashion merchandising students.  SHOP657 is unique in that it uses locally sourced as well as re-purposed materials in its design.

For inspiration the design students traveled through the Tenderloin district of San Francisco as well as watched the animated film “Alice in Wonderland.” Another student, Vanessa Nash-Spangler, got her inspiration from the famous Fibonacci sequence, which she used to create her brightly colored tulle, silk and organza collection.

Another student, Celine Sohrabian was fortunate enough to have been given a summer internship at Rodarte, where she found inspiration in “distortion of shape, obscurity and a play on unconventional fabrics,” for her collection.

An Introduction to the 2015 Guide to the Power Players of Art and Design

December 27, 2015 by Danielle Stoneman in Culture
The Museum of Arts and Design at 2 Columbus Circle in Manhattan, New York City. Photo by Beyond My Ken.

The Museum of Arts and Design at 2 Columbus Circle in Manhattan, New York City. Photo by Beyond My Ken.

Those who follow the art world will be happy to learn that the annual Blouin Art+Auction guide to the country’s most influential people in art and design has been released. Several changes and additions made to the guide this year are worth mentioning. The largest difference is that the listing is now alphabetical rather than grouped by categories. This is a reflection of the fact that many of the people on the list do not fit neatly into any one category. The guide has also chosen to include several essays discussing the latest trends in the business of art. Also new is the emphasis placed on innovation. This new emphasis might not be immediately obvious when looking at those who made the list, but according to the introduction to the guide, the quality of innovation “had the greatest impact on who made the list.”

The full list of the 100 most powerful players will be published over the course of a two-week period.  Since the list is alphabetical the first names to appear are Ali and Hicham Aboutaam of Phoenix Ancient Art; Glenn Adamson, the director of the Museum of Arts and Design; and Craig Applebaum, an attorney turned art dealer.

Hicham Aboutaam and his brother Ali are well-known art dealers based in New York and Geneva. Taking over the business from their father, they have not sat on their laurels but have continued to innovate and develop their special niche of ancient art. They have recently opened a second gallery in Geneva catering to younger collectors where entry level collectors can feel at home. They have also been expanding their e-Tiquities.com web site, making collecting amazing artwork thousands of years old conveniently accessible.

Since the fall of 2013 Glenn Adamson had been the director of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design. He has brought this institution back to its roots with its re-emphasis on craft. With this step Adamson has shown that it is his belief that handcrafting is “the anchor for the sometimes flighty fields of art and design.”

Craig Applebaum entered the art world with a splash when he opened his avant-garde Industry Gallery in Washington, DC five years ago. After shocking the more conservative art patrons of the capital city, he moved west in 2011, opening a branch of his gallery at the Los Angeles Pacific Design Center. Applebaum’s success in LA convinced him to close down his East Coast branch in 2013 and open a second location in Los Angeles earlier this year.

That is just the briefest of summaries of what you can expect to find within the pages of this guide. Take a look and learn about the power players and latest trends in the fascinating world of art and design.