Daily digest: The U.K. cuts design education funding in half, the Hirshhorn will wrap its facade in an enormous mural, and more

Watch Your Step at LEGOLAND

Daily digest: The U.K. cuts design education funding in half, the Hirshhorn will wrap its facade in an enormous mural, and more

The forthcoming revamped Hirshhorn sculpture garden. This fall, a mural from artist Nicolas Party will be wrapped around the main cylinder. (Courtesy Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)

Welcome back to another news roundup as we push toward the weekend, one conspicuously rife with art news.

Here’s what you need to know today:

The United Kingdom slashes art and design education funding by 50 percent

After warning such a move could be in the works earlier this year, the U.K. Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson has slashed government funding for arts, design, culture, and other “lower priority” university majors. The government will now cut its contribution towards supporting these programs from nearly $50 million to $26 million, moving the money into, as Williamson described, majors that “support key industries,” such as engineering, healthcare, math, and science. The cuts will go into effect at the start of the next academic year.

H/t to Artnet News

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will wrap its facade in a Nicolas Party mural

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., remains closed to the public and exterior restoration work on the 1974, Gordon Bunshaft-designed concrete cylinder has left the museum swaddled in scaffolding. The building will reopen on August 20, but as a consolation to disappointed potential visitors, a four-story, 829-foot long mural from artist Nicolas Party will be wrapped around the entire museum in September. Draw the Curtain is a site-specific installation showing faces in varying states of reveal, partially or fully hidden by draped curtains, creating a game of hide-and-seek across the National Mall. The announcement comes a week after the United States Commission of Fine Arts granted final design approval to Hiroshi Sugimoto’s revamp of the Hirshhorn’s sculpture garden.

H/t to The Art Newspaper

The Louvre and Uffizi threaten Pornhub over cheeky reenactments

The Louvre and Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, are bringing their lawyers to bear against internet behemoth Pornhub for copyright infringement. This comes after the adult video giant launched its interactive “Show Me the Nudes” website and app, which shows users around recreations of six different famous art museums, before guiding them to famous works of art, all featuring nude models, recreated using live actors. What happens next should be obvious, given who made the content. Obviously this didn’t sit right with the actual owners of the artwork being “imitated,” and in the Uffizi’s case, they’ve so far gotten Pornhub to take down the show modeled after Titian’s 1538 Venus of Urbino, although they’re pushing to have the entire project removed.

H/t to Observer

Venice dodges endangered designation after a UNESCO vote

It appears Venice has thus far managed to dodge the shameful fate that befell Liverpool yesterday: UNESCO has declined to list the canal-crossed Italian city as in danger of losing its World Heritage Site status. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, meeting in Fuzhou, China, instead asked the Italian government to submit a new plan for how it will deal with tourism and development in the city for consideration at the next 2023 meeting. Although the city recently banned large cruise ships from entering the Venetian Lagoon, preservation-minded critics have alleged that there’s no long-term plan in place for dealing with the often overwhelming tourism.

H/t to The Associated Press

LEGOLAND New York finally opens in Orange County

Four years after the small town of Goshen, New York, voted to bring a LEGOLAND theme park to Orange County, the sprawling 150-acre campus is finally open to the public (although, perhaps at an inopportune time, considering the pandemic). This is the third LEGOLAND to open in the United States and the ninth worldwide. Developed by Merlin Entertainments, the park has seven distinctly themed zones to explore, and the LEGO Hotel will begin taking reservations on August 6.

H/t to New York YIMBY

Extreme drought is already stressing California’s power grid

California’s reliance on hydroelectric power is already being tested this summer, as a third of the state is already suffering from a drought and 40 percent of residents are affected. Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville are already down to half capacity, and smaller reservoirs are nearly empty in some cases. As residents blast their ACs, the state may need to import electricity or fire up fossil fuel-powered backup plants to avoid rolling blackouts.

H/t to The Verge