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VIVIENNE WESTWOOD, the freewheeling fashion designer who pioneered punk and became one of her era’s leading cultural lights, has died at 81, the New York Times reports. (It also has a richly illustrated overview of her work, by Guy Trebay.) Andrew Bolton, the curator of the Costume Institute at the Met, told the Associated Press that Westwood and her former partner, Malcolm McLaren, “gave the punk movement a look, a style, and it was so radical it broke from anything in the past.” The self-taught Westwood opened a London store with McLaren in the early 1970s that stocked venturesome fashions (fetish gear, for a stretch) and operated under names like Sex and Seditionaries; in the 1980s, she began staging runway shows. In a 2014 memoir, the Times notes, Westwood wrote that some “seem surprised still that you can have been in punk and then also be in couture, but it’s all connected.”
AT THE MOVIES. Are you looking for some films recommendations? For Cultured, artist Mickalene Thomas compiled a list of five that stuck with her this year, including Wakanda Forever and Neptune Frost (“one of the best films of our time”). In this month’s Artforum, artist and director John Waters has his much-loved annual list of his favorite films of the year, which include Detainee 001 and Dinner in America (“a wonderfully nasty, politically incorrect punk-rock romantic comedy”). And in ARTnews, Alex Greenberger has a review of the art-filled Glass Onion that may make you opt for something else. “Who gets the last laugh here, the viewers of Glass Onion or the wealthy being targeted by the film?” Greenberger asks. The answer may not be the one that its director intended.
The Pritzker Prize–winning Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, who blended Eastern and Western sensibilities in his many high-profile projects, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, has died at 91. His survivors include his companion, the Tokyo gallerist Misa Shin. [The New York Times]
Careful, long-term efforts to stabilize the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy have proved a success, and the structure now leans to the same degree it did in the early 19th century. Still, there are concerns that the effects of climate change could make it precarious again. [The Art Newspaper]
Photographer Uta Barth, whose lucid images plumb perception, currently has a show at the Getty in Los Angeles. Paul Mpagi Sepuya, her former student, said in a profile of her, “The thing about great teachers is that you keep their questions with you, and ask them of yourself so you don’t feel stuck.” [Los Angeles Times]
Critic Sebastian Smee paid a visit to the blockbuster “Modigliani Up Close” show at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. “Do Modigliani’s nudes objectify female bodies?” he asks. “Without a doubt.” However, “at least in my experience, women find these pictures as beautiful as men,” he writes. [The Washington Post]
Hokusai’s famous print The Great Wave off Kanagawa (1831) is now a Lego set. It features about 1,800 pieces, costs a cool $99.99, and will be released on January 1. [The Economic Times]
Arts-festival organizers Seán Doran and Liam Browne have been toasting the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses this year by presenting events all over Europe. They are planning to stage them in 18 cities in total, in an effort that will stretch into 2024 and conclude in Derry, Northern Ireland. [BBC News]
MUSEUM GUIDE. The Getty, LACMA, and other big names get plenty of attention in Los Angeles, but as Adam Nagourney points out in the New YorkTimes, the county is actually home to hundreds and hundreds of museums—many of them quite obscure, focused on subjects like “bunnies, neon, sneakers, aviation, citrus trees,” and a whole lot more. The delightful-sounding Martial Arts History Museum, for one, holds the headband worn by Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid Part II. “This is the first and only museum of its kind, can you believe it?” its president asked. “The only one in the world that covers all the martial arts.” [NYT]