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Link About It: This Week's Picks

Marc Newson and Jony Ive's (RED) auction, "selfie" as the Word of the Year, Isabella Blow at London's Somerset House and more in our weekly look at the web

by CH Editors in Link About It on 23 November 2013

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1. A Too-Soon Farewell to 5Pointz

Long Island City's 5Pointz—the factory building whose walls became a museum and mecca for graffiti artists from all over the world for the past decade—was painted white overnight this past week. Jerry Wolkoff, who has owned the building since 1971, is planning to demolish the building and build high-rise towers in its place, but promises to set aside space for artists to continue displaying their work publicly. Although street art's innate nature is to be ephemeral, 5Pointz is one iconic site that will stay in our minds for a long time.

2. Bound 2 Critical Theory

Like it or not, everything Kanye West does lately seems to grab headlines—from his Maison Martin Margiela mask to his talk show manifestos. West's video for "Bound 2" off his standout release Yeezus has already garnered its fair share of attention. Luckily for us, New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz brought his witty brand of intellectual criticism to the conversation around West's purposely cheesy video with imagery that looks like it was pulled off of the cover of a discount romance novel. Saltz describes the video succinctly and deftly as "a teenage girl's bedroom idea of romance meets a Richard Prince cowboy picture." If you haven't yet seen the video it's worth a look (though the link is broken on this article, it's easy enough to find) and after you've seen West riding a motorcycle via green screen through the idyllic American southwest with his nude-yet-nippleless fiancé Kim Kardashian, turn to Saltz for a bit of art history context to this odd yet mesmerizing video.

3. Sotheby's (RED) Auction

To raise money for the Global Fund to fight against AIDS in Africa, celebrated designers Jony Ive and Marc Newson curated a collection of one-off (RED) products for auction at Sotheby's. From a single edition Leica M (which starts at $500,000) to an extravagant 1966 bottle of Dom Pérignon in custom red foil and cooler case to a "Star Wars" Stormtrooper helmet, the 44 items up for bid today, 23 November 2013, are sure to draw a sizable amount of attention and cash—all for a charitable cause.

4. Gravity's Companion

On a remote fjord in Greenland, a fisherman responds to a distress call. On the other end, Sandra Bullock's "Gravity" character Dr Ryan Stone requests help, and hope. All of this and much more is revealed in the brilliantly beautiful companion film by Jonas Cuaron—co-author of "Gravity" and son of the film's director. The short could make Oscar history with its feature-length sibling, as both have been posed for consideration and never before has a short and a feature drawn from the same source materiel been nominated together.

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5. Kiosk Goes Greek

The co-founders of one of our favorite shops, NYC-based Kiosk, headed to Greece for their newest 43-piece collection of themed objects. Motivated by a desire to draw buyers to a nation shuttering small businesses, the two uncovered many geographically unique treasures from both Athens and a remote Peloponnese island. Across millinery shops and kitchen supply stores, they've created one of their strongest collections to date. In a related twist of fate, Kiosk will be closing up its SoHo storefront this spring after being evicted by new developers from the location they've held for the last eight years. They're looking for a new place but as of now, plan on being online-only come 1 March 2014.

6. Cooper-Hewitt by Color

While the physical museum is closed for renovations, NYC's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum continues to encourage art and design exploration by giving fans 117 ways to be introduced to something new. The museum's new website cleverly allows users to browse by period, country, people and color—albeit right now only 55% of the museum's full collection, as the site is still in Beta. The Smithsonian offshoot's permanent collection spans 30 centuries "of historic and contemporary design, including 17th century Japanese tsuba, Parisian parasol designs, postmodern glassware and fabric about the future."

7. Selfie: Word of the Year

The beloved term (believed to be of Australian origin) "selfie" saw a 17,000% usage increase since 2012, and thus established itself as the Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year. The buzzword stomped on its competitor "twerk" despite Miley Cyrus and mainstream media's best efforts. After meticulous web research, the winner is chosen based on its rise in usage, even if it isn't destined to remain popular for long. Having spawned several spinoffs already, including "drelfie"—the drunk selfie—we'll have wait and see if the 2013 Word of the Year stands the test of time.

8. The Uncommons

New York City has finally opened its first board game café, an entertainment staple that originates from Asia, where it's quite popular for young adults to drink coffee and play games. The Uncommons will be taking over the famous but now-closed Village Chess Shop space in Greenwich Village. For just $5, you can have unlimited access for the entire day to more than 200 boardgames, like Settlers of Catan to Magic: The Gathering or Cards Against Humanity, and to top it off, food and drink is offered as well. As a coffee shop that will stay open late (until 1AM on weekends)—which is a rarity even in the city—the Uncommons looks to be a great alternative hangout spot for people and groups to meet up, no matter their age.

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9. Because

English has a new preposition: Because. The update is called the "because-noun." Such as, "It's all going to be fine because science." Though it's not certain how this came about, the construction has exploded recently via memes and tweets. All at once—all in one word—you can explain, criticize, sensationalize and ironize your point. The Atlantic explains, it's like offering an explanation and rolling your eyes with a single word. Read the full story to maximize your efficiency and irony with the "because-noun."

10. Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

The illustrious life of Isabelle Blow—who forged a spectacular fashion career for herself as Anna Wintour's assistant and NYT Style Director—is celebrated at the Somerset House's new exhibition, "Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!." Get a taste of how she truly was, as a person and designer, as you stroll through her symbolic mannequins and framed pieces along with the collections she brought to life, including the early works of Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy. Curated by Alistair O’Neill in partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins, the exhibition is now open in London and will run through 2 March 2014.

11. Cinema's Best in Design and Architecture

An expert on the matter, Kyle Bergman—the founder of the Architecture and Design Film Festival, has created an unranked list of what he believes to be the all-time 10 best design movies. Bergman happens to be a trained architect and has seen over 1,000 relevant films since launching his festival only four years ago. A list which includes Nathaniel Kahn's "My Architect," Gary Hustwit's "Helvetica" documentary and Charles Guggenheim's Academy Award-nominated "Monument to the Dream," these films are great for anyone with an eye for design interested in good storytelling.

12. MAVEN Atlas V Launch: In Photos

This week marks another historic step for Mars exploration as NASA launched the MAVEN, a research probe designed to study the atmospheric conditions on the red planet in greater detail than ever before. Launched from Florida's historic Cape Canaveral base, the new project aims to examine past conditions on Mars. While the science and engineering of the technology is remarkable, the Flickr photos of the launch itself are breathtaking. It's hard not to feel a pang of pride in human achievement looking at images of a rocket taking off and seemingly emerging from the bare wilderness of the lush coast.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily on Twitter and published weekly every Saturday morning.

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