Damien Hirst Descends on Château La Coste, and Other News

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“Damien Hirst: The Light That Shines” at Château La Coste until June 23. Photography by Prudence Cuming Associates

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Damien Hirst Descends on Château La Coste

Château La Coste has seen many notable artists pass through its storied grounds—Jennifer Guidi, Tia-Thuy Nguyen, Pierre Paulin—but no artist has staged a full takeover of the Provençal destination’s 500-acre estate. That changed this month, when Damien Hirst pulled back the curtain on a landmark show across the property’s five pavilions designed by the likes of Oscar Niemeyer and Richard Rogers. “The Light That Shines” spans never-before-seen pieces to recognizable career highlights like the formaldehyde work The Ascension and The Empress Paintings, which use red and black butterfly wings arranged into kaleidoscopic patterns. 

Sprawling as it is, the exhibition hints at even more ambitious works to come. According to the Financial Times, the British superstar and Château founder Paddy McKillen plan to erect an on-site chapel taking the form of a 100-foot-high bronze hand pointing toward the sky. “I designed this arm as a sculpture,” Hirst says. “It was based on a hand holding a mobile phone. But it was a bit like Christ’s fingers. And then I thought, it’s like a spire. It was Paddy’s idea to put steps inside it so you could go up it.” The chapel is scheduled to open in late 2025. —Ryan Waddoups

“The Marathon Soldier” by Luc Olivier Merson. Image courtesy of Beaux Arts Paris

The Louvre is opening an exhibition about Olympic history ahead of this year’s games.

An exhibition about the history of the Olympics is opening at the Musée du Louvre in April. The show chronicles the history and political context of the Olympics from ancient times to today, coinciding with the French capital’s upcoming hosting of the games, last held there in 1924. Delving into the origins of the modern Olympics in 1896, the show honors key figures like Pierre de Courbetin and showcases artifacts such as the inaugural Olympic Cup awarded to marathon winner Spyridon Louis. This event, part of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games’ cultural program, precedes the games’ commencement in July, with Paris also unveiling this year’s Chaumet-designed medals incorporating iron from the Eiffel Tower.

Chicago will proceed with a plan to revamp empty towers along LaSalle Street downtown. 

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is spearheading a $1 billion overhaul of vacant downtown buildings to combat a commercial real estate crisis, with prices plummeting by more than 50 percent. The initiative aims to repurpose structures along LaSalle Street, historically Chicago’s financial hub. Plans include transforming nearly 2.3 million square feet of vacant space, with a focus on mixed-use developments and affordable housing to rejuvenate Chicago’s downtown.

Still from “UKI” (2023) by Shu Lea Cheang. Image courtesy of the artist

Net art pioneer Shu Lea Cheang has received the $100,000 LG Guggenheim Award.

Shu Lea Cheang, a Taiwan-born artist known for her multidisciplinary approach and exploration of technology, has been awarded the LG Guggenheim Award and an unrestricted $100,000 prize. For more than three decades, Cheang has delved into the latest technologies, from biotechnology to gaming engines, and has produced four feature-length films, including UKI in 2023. Notable for her engagement with technology through science fiction and queer identity, Cheang’s work often addresses societal impacts and human desires in both digital and analog worlds. The award recognizes her pioneering contributions and innovative perspectives, with an event scheduled for May 2 at the Guggenheim Museum’s theater in New York City.

New York City’s unsightly sidewalk scaffolding is undergoing a much-needed redesign.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ latest initiative aims to replace the city’s ubiquitous sidewalk sheds with updated, less intrusive designs designed by Arup and Practice for Architecture & Urbanism. The city plans to release four options for new sidewalk sheds and two designs for safety equipment, with the goal of having the new versions in place by early 2025. While this initiative addresses the aesthetic issue of unsightly scaffolding, it also highlights the challenge of timely building repairs, with the Adams administration working on legislation to reduce the duration of sidewalk shed installations and penalize building owners for prolonged use.

The Biden administration announces new efficiency standards for washers and dryers.

The Biden administration unveiled new efficiency standards for washers and dryers, aiming to reduce energy consumption and water usage. These updated standards, set to take effect from March 1, 2028, mandate top-loading washers to be 11 percent more energy-efficient and use 28 percent less water, while dryers will see up to a 40 percent reduction in energy use. These measures, aligned with Energy Star benchmarks, are expected to save Americans $2.2 billion annually on utility bills and cut 71 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years. 

Air Swipe Bag by Coperni. Image courtesy of Coperni

Today’s attractive distractions:

The infamous diner booth from the Sopranos finale is now for sale on eBay. 

Alexander Scriabin’s recent performance of Prometheus had a distinct smell.

An intrepid orca was spotted killing a great white shark for the first time ever.

Coperni reveals a bag made of 99 percent air using NASA’s silica aerogel.

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