January brings us a fresh New Year and a host of bright sites to view.

"Wynken, Blynken, and Oz" in their bright red finery are being shown at the new Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, California, USA. The three are also being exhibited as part of "Beyond the Buzz: New Forms, Realities and Environments in Digital Fabrication" at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Now, on to our links:

Zaha Hadid has won an international competition held in 2013 to design a new headquarters building for a middle eastern waste management and environmental company called bee'ah. The stunning architecture will have space for educational facilities, exhibits, and meeting rooms.

Artist Emilio Vavarella has taken photographs from the FBI Archive of stolen art, known as the National Stolen Art File (NASF) and used them to create an animated gif. He then made paper copies, signed by himself, of the stolen artworks. As an artist who has had a stainless steel sculpture on a marble base stolen from the Blue Room Gallery in San Francisco 14 years ago, I find interesting issues raised by this project.

A site near a railway station in Northern China has revealed murals as part of a 1000-year-old tomb. No evidence exists of who occupied the tomb, although archaeologists tell us that this is often the case with Buddhist burial sites from that period.(Thanks to RC for this item).

Takashi Murakami continues to delight with his irreverent images and sculptures. Here you see some from the Gagosian Gallery online. Sometimes foreboding, often joyful, Murakami's works make a strong statement whether shown in a gallery or surrounded by historical pieces.

The Haas Brothers, based in Los Angeles, also project a jaundiced and playful eye on the modern world. Sometimes shown as furniture, sometimes as fine art objects, the pieces are daring, startling, frequently sensual, and always unique.

Slate online is offering us a 3D model of a celestial globe from the 17th century. Created by Willem Janszoon Blaeu in 1603, the globe depicts beautiful views of the Northern Hemisphere as well as newly-found images of the Southern Sky, all of which you can see by clicking and dragging to turn the model.

Artist ra paulette takes us underground to some lunimous caves that he has hand-dug into the sandstone in northern New Mexico. Hiking, digging, scraping and sculpting for over ten years by himself, the artist has created a unique environment formed of his own vision imposed upon the forbidding landscape.

An interview with artist David Hockney reveals that he has essentially ignored art fashions in creating his work. His assistant states "there is something inside David that drives him to make pictures". I suspect that applies to most of us in the field. The interview mentions a new film called "Hockney", pasted together from other films about him. Hockney has said to the author, "I spent most of my life living in Bohemia and I expected to spend my whole life there. But bohemia as almost disappeared".

I recently came across an artist named Stevens Strauss, a name which made me wonder if she was attempting to circumvent the lack of attention paid to female artists. Her website begins with a quote from Samuel Beckett: "The function of objects is to restore silence". Her sculptures and vessels are particularly evocative.

"All we want to do is be free", a passionate song performed by J.Cole on the Late Show with David Letterman , expresses a deeply-felt need for equity and fairness. Released over the summer, the words reverberate intensely now after Ferguson and the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Arc Gallery and Studios has published an online catalog of their exhibit "Dark". You will find Whitaker's digital painting called "Sightless" on page 58: it is tough to be at the end of the alphabet! The painting measures 36" x 36" and is output onto aluminum.

Gagosian Gallery is presenting the paintings of Cecily Brown, loose-limbed abstract figurations with flowing lines and sensuous forms. W magazine also offers an interview with her, in which the paintings shown use a more subdued palette.

As theorists debate the topic of artificial intelligence, prominent critics are quoted on the advantages and disturbing implications of the complex field in this article from Vanity Fair magazine. Researchers like Mitch Kapor, who co-founded the Electronic Frontier, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Tesla co-founder Elon Musk voice their concerns about what could be the "biggest existential threat" to the human species, and one that could occur as soon as ten years from now. In another Vanity Fair article, physicist Stephen Hawking expresses his fear that the technology could eventuate in the destruction of human beings, even if we are able to colonize outer space territories like Mars.

If you have ever wondered how large public sculpture is fabricated, take a look at this description of the process followed by a foundry called Polich Tallix. They were commissioned to produce some huge outdoor playground sculpture designed by Tom Otterness for the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. Three "activity nodes" were to be scattered around the airport, inviting adults as well as children to sit, play, and slide on them. The work involved, both in designing and fabricating, is fascinating and educational.

A group of Santa Monica, California, art venues has combined to produce a site called Arena 1. Here you will see the stone sculpture of Jacqueline Piatigorsky. Piatigorsky, who died in 2012 at the age of 100, was a competitive chess master as well as an artist, writer and tennis player. Her sensuous and organic sculptures are frequently carved in marble, alabaster, and stone. In her memoir, Piatigorsky reminds us that Michelangelo carved his Moses sculpture when he was 90 years old. Incidentally, Arena 1 quotes artist Bob Miller who says, "The worst disease afflicting human kind is hardening of the categories".

c. Corinne Whitaker 2014