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TED Senior Fellow Candy Chang: It’s Good to Be Here

THREE YEARS AGO, Pittsburgh-born artist Candy Chang was named a TED Senior Fellow for Urban Innovation, and since then she’s been caught up in the vortex of a whirlwind that has sent this architecture-graphic design-urban planning graduate of Columbia University and onetime New York Times graphic artist on a creative journey that has allowed her to leave a mark on communities in faraway places like Helsinki, Nairobi, New Orleans, Vancouver and Johannesburg.  Chang’s now-global “Before I Die” project began when she she transformed an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans into a fill-in-the-blank chalkboard for people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in a public space. “Before I Die” proved so empowering and uplifting,...

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In His Own Words: NYC Artist Naoto Nakagawa’s Thousand Portraits of Japan Disaster Survivors

“When the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown struck northern Japan, I felt powerless to do something substantial to help my homeland. Family circumstances took me to Japan a few months later, and I resolved to visit the devastated area to see it with my own eyes. While I was there I decided to draw portraits of people who are living in shelters, to give them some token that a visitor from far away in America cares about their plight. “I remembered that after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City, school children in Japan sent 1,000 paper cranes, a symbol of healing and good fortune, to my children’s school. I decided to make 1,000 Portraits to give to people...

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Uniqlo NYC Opening Tomorrow

The major huge Uniqlo behemoth shop is opening. 89,000 square feet, 100 dressing rooms, 50 registers, and clothes that fit Asians better. A statement mentioned that the folks at Uniqlo aren’t eyeing The Gap as their goal in the US, they’re looking more towards Apple! It’s a bold thing to say, but at the same time, at Giant Robot, we eyed magazines like National Geographic over the many street culture or Asian American types of magazines as what we wanted to be like. But Apple? If you didn’t remember this shop boasted a $300 million dollar lease for 15 years, which was a record at the time. Uniqlo  

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Last Week for NYC’s Giant Asian Head

She is quietly judging your diet as you consume a double cheeseburger and slurp a hopscotch concrete. This giant Asian head will leave Madison Square Park (probably best known as the location of the original Shake Shack) after August 14. The artist is Jaume Plensa of Barcelona and this nontalking head is known as Echo. From a distance, it looks as if the face (so life-like, it seems ready to open its eyes and speak) is projected onto a blank wall, but as one approaches, the marks of a sculpture become more clear. Even though the installation was just for a little while, it’s nice to know that Asians can still get a head in the city.

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Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads

You know them from the placemats at Chinese restaurants. Right to left: pig, dog, rooster and half a monkey. Over Memorial Day I got a chance to swing by and see Ai Weiwei’s sculpture exhibit at the Plaza Hotel at the southeast corner of Central Park. Toughest chicken ever! Right to left: rooster, monkey, sheep, horse and snake. The odd thing is that there isn’t a sign describing the heads sitting in the Pulitzer Fountain. There isn’t even a sign that notes the name of the artist or the title of the work (“Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads“). Maybe it was meant to echo China’s silencing of Ai Weiwei via jail. The rabbit is in a rather precarious spot. Right to...

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