Our daily round-up of news from the art world
Richard Rogers Opens Low-Cost Housing Scheme | The YMCA has opened its first ‘Y:Cube’ modular housing development in the London Borough of Merton. The buildings, which were designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, will be rented out at 65% of the average market rate in an effort to reduce homelessness on the streets of London. The housing units are pre-built modules that slot into place together, significantly reducing construction time and costs. Further Y:Cube schemes are planned across Britain, and senior RSHP partner Ivan Harbour has expressed hope that they will present a ‘new model for house building in the future’. Others, including the Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright, are more cautious with their prognoses: ‘If taken up as the silver bullet to endless waiting lists, there’s a very real risk it could sow the seeds for a future of cheaply built, meanly scaled, less stable housing that can be conveniently swept away at a moment’s notice’, Wainwright warned.
Nepal Government ‘Should Rebuild Heritage’ | Bhim Prasad Nepal, the head of a committee tasked with recommending approaches to reconstructing Kathmandu after April’s earthquake, has advocated that restoration should be supervised directly by the relevant government departments. Nepal’s remarks follow suggestions that contracts to rebuild heritage sites might be outsourced to private enterprises. The natural disaster, which destroyed around 750 cultural monuments in and around the Nepalese capital, killed around 9,000 people has incurred an estimated $10 billion in damage. Bhim Prasad Nepal’s statement was apparently provoked by fears that private enterprise would not treat the region’s cultural heritage with due sensitivity or understanding.
Sir Peter Blake Allows Smartphone Users to ‘Remix’ his Art | Pop artist Sir Peter Blake has sanctioned an app that will allow users to re-model their own photos using his ‘Everybody Razzle Dazzle’ design. Blake described himself as a ‘luddite’ to BBC News, and compared the ‘Dazzle-It’ app to the age-old art of appropriation. He took a more sanguine tone, however, when it came to discussing traditional skills: drawing and painting have ‘gone beyond worry’, he told the BBC. ‘I regret that (the decline) has happened, but it’s happened anyway and there’s nothing I can do about it’.
Fitzwilliam Announces Major Acquisitions | Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum has announced that it has acquired 47 letters written by Samuel Palmer in his final years, and a portrait of Maria Isabel de Borbón, Queen of the Two Sicilies by Spanish court painter Vicente López y Portaña – the first Royal portrait by the artist ever to enter a British collection. The Palmer letters, which span the last 16 years of the artist’s life, appear to disprove the theory that he was a recluse in old age. According to the Fitzwilliam, the letters show ‘an extraordinary zest for life’, and are signed off variously as ‘Samuel Palmer’, ‘Nogo’, ‘Mr Fearing’ and ‘A good-for-nothing-little-baby-scamp who is ashamed to sign his name’.