Your eyes and ears on the world of art and culture. We remind you that 15 years of back issues of eMusings can be found on our archives page.

The artist responsible for those sculptures of the "skinny sublime", Albert Giacometti, is having a large retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Giacometti considered himself a failure and lived in poverty, even after he was wealthy. Jean Genet described Giacometti's living quarters as "a milky swamp, a seething dump, a genuine ditch". Today three of his sculptures have brought the highest auction prices at Christie's. In this review of Giacometi's work, Peter Schjeldahl finds the artist as relevant today as he was when he died at the age of 64 in 1966. Yes his work is disturbing, strange, and dark . He shrank many of his models to such tiny proportions that they could fit into matchboxes. Yet he could be courteous, and charming, even when describing his sense of futility. His strangeness seems to resonate deeply with viewers today.

If you are traveling in the rural countryside of China's Anhiu province, you may see a tall tree house winding around a spiral staircase, lending a 360 degree view of the trees and mountains outside. Rooms are set on top of each other in what appear to be boxes built on boxes but is actually a hotel. Walls and floors are painted white, to give emphasis to the views outdoors. The idea of stacked boxes seems to have taken hold in several countries, affording a way for architects to deal with difficult sites.

Japan House LA is set to open this summer in Los Angeles. The shop will be filled with beautifully curated Japanese design objects and forward-looking fashions. Planned eventually are an elegant restaurant, a libray with free wifi, and an exhibition space.

At the same time, Japan House London will present the work of architect Sou Fujimoto in an exhibition called "Futures of the Future". Fujimoto sees the future as a set of possibilities, and this show includes roughly 100 pieces that he imagines can fill our cityscapes tomorrow. Additional information can be found at the Japan House site.

AfriCOBRA was a dynamic art group that was born on the south side of Chicago some 50 years ago. Created by five artists who wanted to show off a "black aesthetic", the group is now having a retrospective at the Kravets Wehby gallery in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. Today's collective features 15 artists, all of whose works are on view, and some of whom will be included in the upcoming "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power" that opens at the Brooklyn Museum in September. Long disdained by the larger art world, the group takes pride in its strong colors, dynamic rhythms, and rich cultural heritage.

Although the namesake herself died this past year, Zaha Hadid Architects has continued the ground-breaking style that marked her best work. Now it can be seen at the Morpheus hotel in Macau, which just opened this month. The building was begun in 2012 - thus explainng Hadid's strong influence - and includes 12 glass elevators. A striking exterior and sculptural interior lend a strong identity to the architecture.

For the first time in Spain the photographs of Cecil Beaton are being shown in a major retrospective. The show runs until August at the Fundacion Canal in Madrid. Shown here are some of Beaton's striking portraits, ranging from Audrey Hepburn to Lucien Freud.

Scotland's first design museum, the V&A Dundee, opens this September. Included in the opening exhibitions will be a giant pop-up book meant to be a theater set and created by Scottish artist John Byrne. Byrne originally designed the set in 1973 for John McGrath's drama about the exploitation and history of the Highlands. The book includes five pop-up scenes, created to be easily transported on the roof of a van and set up in villages around Scotland. Actors would turn the pages during the mini performances.

Along with his wife, Christo has designed a giant sculpture made out of more than 7,500 barrels. The sculpture floats on London's Serpentine Lake and fulfills the dream of the artist and his late wife Jean Claude to create art that is free to the public. The barrels are secured to scaffolding and tightly anchored. Christo's pieces are supported by the sale of smaller art works and created by the artist without the use of assistants. The London Mastaba is the first giant sculpture by Christo and Jeanne Claude to be shown in the U.K.

An innovative group called Wonder Lab creates unusual designs at London's UCL Bartlett School of Architecture. Alisa Andrasek, their Director, is also a founder of Biothing and a partner of Bloom Games, where you are a seedling named Sprout who devises ways to save the planet from the dangerous machines that threaten it. Wonder Lab itself uses computational physics, robotics, and 3D printing to create visions of tomorrow in forms of today. Wander freely through this site, folks. You are in for some treats.

If you were intrigued this month by the photojournalism of our Vintage Woman Susan Ressler, then you may want to surf over to Oliver Wainwright's pictures taken in North Korea. Wainwright's emphasis is on the architecture of the country and of its capital Pyongyang, whereas Ressler gives us a more intimate glimpse into the people of Nepal and Bhutan. Both very talented photographers let us look into locations and cultures that many of us would not otherwise experience.

The National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D. C. is featuring the works of British artist Paul Brown in a show called "Process, Chance, and Serendipity". Those of you who have been following Digital Giraffe for the past 24 years recognize the brilliance of these computer images based on self-generative forms. Brown has been investigating digital imaging since the 1960's, concentrating on a field called Cellular Automata, basically systems that can self-regenerate over time. The broader concept here is a discipline referred to as Artificial Life or A Life. Other pioneers in this field include the late Harold Cohen, inventor of Aaron's Code. Brown and his son David call their works "Art That Makes Itself".

c. Corinne Whitaker 2018