Art Basel postponed since Switzerland closes borders

Art Basel, one of the art world’s biggest events, has been postponed due to the spread of coronavirus pandemic in Europe. It was announced that the four-day event will be rescheduled to take place in September.

Last year, the art fair attracted more than 93,000 visitors from around the world. This year, it was due to take place in June. However, following the policy of tightened travel restrictions across Europe, a press release of organizers said that the decision to postpone was reached “in close consultation with a wide range of collectors, gallerists, partners, and external experts, with the aim of protecting the health and safety of our community, as well as ensuring that the event will be attended by the biggest possible number of collectors, arts professionals, and curators from our global network.”

Art Basel is one of the major events in the cultural calendar, offering more than 250 galleries the opportunity to court collectors in an industry that is still heavily dependent on in-person sales. Organizers haven’t announced details about compensation or refunds for exhibiting galleries and ticket holders.

Global Director of Art Basel Marc Spiegler suggested that the new fair dates, currently set for September 17-20, might change once again, depending on how dynamic the Covid-19 situation is.

Presently, the Swiss government’s ban on public events only runs till April 19 while Art Basel was not set to begin until June 18. The number of confirmed cases in Switzerland, which borders northern Italy, keeps growing. The country has thus far reported about 10,000 infections – more than both the UK and South Korea – with 153 dead cases due to the virus.

Art Basel has joined a growing list of art fairs to be postponed or canceled because of the virus. These cancellations are likely to have a significant economic impact, with fairs responsible for more than $16 billion in transactions in 2019.

The best crafting games to spend your free time with (part 1)

Crafting games come in many different shades because they can both be their own genre or work as a large component of many different games. As long as you need to craft items to get ahead, be that a bow, a shovel, or a tasty meal, it counts. Crafting is obviously a big part of survival games, but there is the best crafting game for everyone. Games with many different moods and genres depend on your ability to get crafty.

However, there is one thing all crafting games have in common: they are always about the journey of discovery and the delight of finding new things to make and use. And these best crafting games encapsulate this feeling perfectly.

1. Dig or Die

Instantly recognizable as a crafting game inspired by Terraria, Dig or Die is a mixture of defense and crafting complete with side-scrolling and platforming elements. Your task is in the title – after crash landing on a strange alien planet, you need to get digging in order to find as many resources as possible before the inhabitants out for your hide come to knock on your door.

What makes Dig or Die special is that besides crafting items that will help you survive in a hostile environment and work on a new spaceship, you also build your own home and its defense systems. If you’re new to this type of building and crafting gameplay, Dig or Die is simple enough to quickly get you going.

2. Creativerse

This is probably the best Minecraft competitor, a free-to-play alternative to Mojang’s mega-hit with a more polished look and user-friendly menus. However, Creativerse does more than offer quality of life improvements over Minecraft. There’s a stronger focus on combat and subsequent enemy loot, and the variety in biomes makes it great for multiplayer role-playing.

The game is still being updated with features like camera modes and rotatable blocks, and there’s also a Creativerse Pro DLC, which includes a glider, stamina and inventory upgrades as well as the option to create your own worlds.

The Best Craft Beer in Scandinavia (part 2)

To Øl (Copenhagen)

To Øl learned well as disciples of Mikkeller, becoming a tireless experimenter known for attention to aesthetic details. Despite having opened brick-and-mortar establishments with its mentor – among others, Mikkeller & Friends bars in Copenhagen and Reykjavík – To Øl has remained prolific as a brewer. To notice is its recently-released Taanilinn, an uncannily balanced 14% alcohol-by-volume imperial oatmeal stout. (An extra 1 percent ABV was gained from time spent in a former cognac barrel with Vana Talinn, a rum-based liquor infused with cinnamon and vanilla.)

Nørrebro Bryghus (Copenhagen)

Nørrebro exists for those whose desire for good beer and good food is split evenly; it’s a destination at which both get equally reverent consideration. The impeccably designed brewpub has made a name for itself in Copenhagen, counting American Shaun Hill, of Vermont’s highly-regarded Hill Farmstead Brewery, a former head brewer. The finely tuned approach of  Nørrebro is apparent in its Little Korkny barley wine, which í a rich, full-bodied sipper teeming with caramel and fruit flavor.

Omnipollo (Stockholm, Sweden)

Though I have previously waxed poetic on Omnipollo’s high quality, no list of exciting Scandinavian producers would be complete without its mention. Existing in the unlikely space between the worlds of craft beer and contemporary fashion, the duo behind Omnipollo has a knack for consistently releasing bottles that equally please both eye and palate. Last year, it introduced a version of its Agamemnon stout (brewed with Vermont maple syrup) aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels; this was roasty, sweet, and without flaw.

Tempel Brygghus (Uppsala, Sweden)

Since Tempel’s first batch of beer was brewed in late summer 2014, the pint-sized brewery has made an impressive splash in Sweden’s increasingly competitive craft scene. At the moment, it focuses only on specialty sour beers (subject to eventual change). Its kettle-soured Ordained, which was brewed for a local heavy metal band, was “dry-hopped” with Chinese gunpowder tea, creating a delightfully quenching lemon-forward treat with delicious matcha notes.

The Best Craft Beer in Scandinavia (part 1)

It is clear that craft brew tourism is on the increase in Scandinavia, including Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, where the breweries also top your quaffing list. Here is the best craft beer in Scandinavia.

Brekeriet Beer (Malmö, Sweden)

Brekeriet has carved a distinct segment in Sweden with unique takes on (mostly) sour beer recipes. Committed to fermenting solely with wild yeast and/or bacteria generally, the crew has re-fermented certain beverages by adding fruit, and therefore the results are noteworthy. Special-release Cassis may be a prime example: When the berries are added during secondary fermentation, the Brettanomyces yeast wont to brew the beer positively feast on the fruit’s particular sugars, leading to a drink that’s simultaneously dry and jammy.

Lervig Aktiebryggeri (Stavanger, Norway)

To some, Lervig is understood as Danish gypsy brewer Mikkeller’s new facility of choice for the assembly of the many classic stout recipes. Mikkeller formerly utilized fellow Norwegians Nøgne Ø in order to brew such ales, for example, his Beer Geek Breakfast and Brunch oatmeal stouts. Make no mistake though, Lervig is extremely much an autonomously excellent brewery. There could also be no better proof than its Brewer’s Reserve Barleywine, aged in Maker’s Mark bourbon barrels. Sugar within the Raw and tobacco notes merge during this quintessential example of the design.

Närke Kulturbryggeri (Örebro, Sweden)

Several years ago, Närke’s obscure limited-release imperial stout Kaggen! Stormaktsporter. Unexpectedly, it shot to the No.1 spot on the Top 50 beers within the world of RateBeer.com. (It usurped a throne usually occupied by better-known classics like the Trappist monk-made Westvleteren 12 Belgian quadrupel.) Whereas many breweries would have seized this cash-in moment and sold to a bigger beverage company, Närke maintained its size and put production of the superlative beer on hiatus. Brewed with the honey and exhibiting rounding wood qualities from its oak maturation, Kaggen! is a decadently oily delight which anyone hopes will return soon. Within the meantime, you’ll enjoy other, smaller gems like Närke’s unfiltered Örebro Bitter.

Alibaba Digital Art to Greet Fans at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

As thousands of people are going to arrive in Tokyo in July for the Olympic Games 2020, the experience for a lot of them will begin as soon as they get out of the plane, thanks to a new idea from Alibaba Group.

On Thursday, Alibaba, a Worldwide Partner for the Olympics, unveiled its Alibaba Cloud Gallery, a creative cooperation with young Japanese artists in order to bring together sports, technology, and culture in several digital installations at Narita airport in Tokyo.

According to Alibaba, the artwork, which is set to appear on all screens at the airport, mixxes elements of Japanese culture with images of athletes in order to create a memorable first impression for the travelers that are going to attend the Games. Alibaba Cloud will help the artists be able to work with the data-heavy visual elements necessary for the installations by providing high-performance data intelligence.

This is the newest creative initiative from Alibaba’s partnership with the International Olympic Committee, with the aim of digitizing the Games and attracting a new fans generation. For Alibaba Group, that means using creativity and technology to engage young people and give Japanese artists, who will be on display at the Alibaba Cloud Gallery, their own stage on which to be seen.

The art installations also include the latest launched Alibaba-Olympic Games partnership logo for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The logo with Alibaba below the Olympic Rings means to show the group’s commitment to best support the Olympic Games with its cloud technology, expertise in digital commerce, as well as its efforts to make the Games more appealing to a younger fan generation.

Alibaba Cloud’s country manager in Japan, Unique Song, said that the Group would continue to support young Japanese artists even after the artwork exhibition is over by introducing artificial intelligence-driven tools along with multimedia solutions like smart-video editing and 3D modeling, which have been used in the Alibaba ecosystem.

‘The Art of Hope’ to open on Jan. 21 at Mississippi State University

Mississippi State’s Department of Art is kicking off its spring exhibition schedule with “The Art of Hope,” on display Jan. 21-Feb. 28 at the university’s Cullis Wade Depot Art Gallery.

“When faced with discrimination, inequity or loss, hope can conjure action, motivate and inspire,” said Mississippi State University, Art Instructor and Galleries Director Lori Neuenfeldt. “Using adversity as a conductor for creation and art as a platform for communicating, this exhibition represents the diverse ways artists visualize and convey their vision of hope.”

For this nationally competitive exhibition, 120 submitted works were considered. Guest juror John Sabraw of Athens, Ohio, ultimately selected 37 pieces of 2D and 3D art for inclusion.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, except for campus-observed holidays.

Representing 20 different states, exhibitors are professional artists from around the country. They include Sylvia Bandyke, Brandin Barón, Cynthia Buob, Martin Brief, Kyong Burke, Mark Dineen, Sam Dorgan, Cyndy Epps, John Fansmith, Linda Fuller, Rachel Green, Susan Harmon, Willoughby Lucas Hastings, J. Fredric May, Dana Moody, Christy Nelson, Raul Ortiz, Alexis Ortiz, Jonathan Price, Edward Ramsay-Morin, Joy Redstone, Jason Stout, Addie Studebaker, Wanda Sullivan, T R O N J A G, Michael Voelkl, G. E. Vogt and Setsuko Yoshida.

On Friday, Jan. 31, Sabraw will give a 1 p.m. public talk in Giles Hall’s Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium. Sabraw, an artist, activist, and environmentalist hailing from Lakenheath, England, produces drawings, paintings, and collaborative installations in an eco-conscious manner and continually works toward a fully sustainable practice. His work is featured in numerous collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Honolulu, Hawaii. For more, see www.johnsabraw.com.

A 5-6:30 p.m. public reception for “The Art of Hope” exhibition also will be held on the 31st in the Cullis Wade gallery. Complimentary refreshments will be available.

Six Hot Cake Decorating Trends You Need To Know For 2020

2020 has come! A new year means new ideas, new styles, and new creativity, so we’d compile a useful list of all the cake decorating trends that are super popular this year. Here is your go-to reference to make sure your cake decorating is totally on trend!

Grazing tables

The grazing table is new for this year. This is going to be seen at many weddings and parties. You might think this isn’t cake decorating but there is an art of decorating involved. The key is for the abundance of goodies to look thrown together in a precise manner. Doughnuts and macarons are also playing a big part of your dessert table, alongside the main event cake.

Metallics

When it comes to color, metallics play a huge part. In 2019, rose gold has been playing a much smaller part in the metallics family and in 2020, it will be fading out even more. Silver, gold, and copper are much bigger players, and using them in a mixed metal way in particular. This may be for one stand out tier for the whole design, or on a wedding cake.

Displays

A huge trend this year is part of decorating the actual cake, the display of the cake. Geometric shapes, shabby boxes, hexagonal frame, instead of cake stands, this completes your look.

Sprinkles

Sprinkles are not just for kids’ cakes! This year, sprinkles are back in a big way, in all shapes and sizes, as part of a drip or covering the entire cake.

Buttercream painting

Painting on cakes takes a new turn, by using a palette knife you can paint on buttercream in different colors for a beautiful artistic effect. This is a trend that we can’t wait to see more of!

Foliage

Foliage has been a part of cake decorating for recent years, but there is a shift in what to use and make. Fern is replacing eucalyptus and gypsophilia, especially on wedding cakes against crisp white cakes.

‘Concrete Genie’: A kid’s game about the joys of art (part 2)

Luna signals that she would like Ash to paint some specific designs from his notebook on the wall. Pressing the right trigger will allow Ash to take out his brush and open his notebook. Using the control pad, you can choose a design from the notebook and paint it on the wall by pressing the right trigger and guiding Ash’s brush using the motion-control sensors of DualShock. You can quickly and easily make fetching murals by mixing different designs. In turn, these murals can activate darkened strings of lightbulbs hanging overhead, which causes the surrounding area to light up. Before Luna’s tutorial is complete, it is clear that she’d like for you to revive Denska by painting throughout it.

Ash is helped with his task by various genies, like Luna, who has special abilities. Electric genies, fire genies, and the like can move across the artwork of Ash and power up junction boxes or burn away obstacles. However, Genies recoil at the darkness. In order to clear away those tangly tendrils of solid mental anguish, Ash has to use super paint. Super paint can be acquired by fulfilling a genie’s request for a particular mural design. You spend most of the game painting the town’s walls, lighting up all the bulbs in each space and using super paint to remove the darkness.

As Ash goes about his task, he must avoid the bullies who roam around the area to avoid being thrown into a dumpster. The game well captures the feeling of what it is like to be a kid who happily engaged in his own thing and the annoyance coming from being interrupted by those with nothing better to do. Over the course of the game Ash comes to understand that his tormentors all suffer from their own inner conflicts which lead them to lash out. The plotline unambiguously sides with a nurture, as opposed to nature, reading of human failings.

Due to its unusual mechanics, I don’t think that “Concrete Genie” is a game one can easily get a feel for from watching a trailer. I never would have guessed that I’d in any way enjoy creating murals and watching funny-looking creatures scamper about them, but I did because I found it all mostly relaxing.  

Two sustainable Christmas craft activities to try around the UK

Worried about the amount of festive rubbish in your wheelie bin? Just take action and then have fun at one of the following eco-friendly gift and decoration classes.

Edible gifts

More unwanted “stuff” at Christmas? Try giving a tasty treat instead. Chocolate workshops at the National Trust’s medieval Powis Castle and Garden near Welshpool, include handmade chocolate robins and stars, and sparkly chocolate shards (19 Dec, £27.50). In York, the original home of Rowntree’s and Terry’s factories, chocolate workshops at York Cocoa House range from drop-in lollipop-making (£3.75), to masterclasses on specialties, such as ganaches and caramels (various dates, £55 adult, £28 child).

In the Gloucestershire Hills, Harts Barn Cookery School in the Forest of Dean is running Christmas cookery classes throughout Dec, including children’s edible decorations and edible gifts classes (gingerbread men, marshmallow penguins, chocolate lollies and reindeer pretzels, 15 Dec, from £25), and Christmas chocolate-making for adults (1 Dec, £50), with truffles and more to take away.

For something savory, learn the secrets of creating quick pickles at the Salt Box sustainably-minded cookery school’s Pickle like a Pro workshop (11 Dec, £45) near Redhill in Surrey, which also includes a festive drink and a two-course meal. Classes will take place in a private woodland glen and a cozy barn.

Unusual ornaments

Piece Hall in Halifax – a recently restored 18th-century cloth hall that now has independent shops and eateries around its vast courtyard – is running a series of Christmas events and workshops, which include making felt decorations with heritage cloth (17 Dec, £5.50) and felted snowman sessions for children (ages 6+, 21 Dec, £7.50).

In Surrey, the Royal Horticultural Society’s 97-hectare Wisley Garden – one of the UK’s most-visited gardens – has a workshop on “living baubles” – known in Japan as kokedama (£15, 4 Dec), alongside free children’s decoration-making sessions using woodland materials (14-15 Dec). Also for children, and inspired by a new exhibition, Flights of Fancy: the Wondrous World of Quentin Blake (running until April 2020), The National Trust’s Nymans house in West Sussex is running decoration workshops (various dates, £3).

In Glasgow, Locavore, an organic and sustainable food shop and cafe close to Queen’s Park, has a workshop (23 November, £10) on upcycling old books to become paper decorations, such as intricate snowflakes and folded trees.

Children craft holidays for the homeless

The Giving Tree is back and children came to Oakville Grocery Store in downtown Healdsburg to get the ball rolling on the project, now in its third year.

The Giving Tree starts with paper ornaments that are crafted by the children. Members of the homeless community then write down what they would like on the ornaments before putting them up on the tree for residents to fulfill. The presents are then taken out to the homeless community by Reach for Home’s Rick Cafferata.

The tree project has been organized each year by local homeless advocate Gail Jonas and the kids were getting into the spirit Nov. 13 as they grabbed scissors and got to work.

Sophia Jonas said it was her second year helping create the ornaments. She said that this year, she came out with friends and family for the first time.

“I think it’s fun to make them and just spend time with people,” Sophia Jonas said.

After the ornaments have their gifts listed on them, she said she liked to see what was on people’s wish lists and helping spread the word to people who might be interested in donating.

For Julia Dolph, this was another way to help her community. Previously, she ran a dog walking service for her neighbors.

“I think this is a really good way to show our dedication to the community,” she said.

And there are sweet rewards for the help, too, as Josh Proctor pointed out. A slew of cookies was available to help keep the energy up.

Having kids help with The Giving Tree is a big part of the project, Cafferata said.

“I have them (gift recipients) to where they break down and cry. Cause somebody gave them something and especially something that they asked for. Not just something that somebody gives you out of the blue.” Cafferata said. “It’s wonderful to get the younger generation involved. They go home and teach their parents a thing or two.”

The kids’ work pays off, too.

“Last year I got a really cool pair of boots,” said Lucky, a member of the homeless community.

Lucky said that he appreciates the energy the kids bring to the project.

The first year the tree went up, it had 20 ornaments, Cafferata said. Last year, there were around 30. There was a concern from last year, however, when shortly after the gifts from the tree were given, there was a police sweep of camps, which possibly left people without their new gifts.