Doug Aitken Plays Out in Princeton, and Other News

Our daily look at the world through the lens of design.

“migration (empire)” (2008) by Doug Aitken. Image courtesy of the artist, 303 Gallery, New York; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Victoria Miro, London; Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

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Doug Aitken Plays Out in Princeton

While in the throes of construction, Princeton University Art Museum is transforming the campus and surrounding area into an interim exhibition space. The institution recently tapped its holdings to project migration (empire), a 24-minute work of video art by Doug Aitken that addresses humanity’s impact on animals’ habitats and migratory patterns. The work depicts animals like owls, horses, and bison who struggle to cope inside tiny roadside motel rooms. The projection site, a billboard near the transit station that serves the campus, prompts us to consider comings and goings in the context of humanity’s relationship with the natural world. —Jenna Adrian-Diaz

The “Blue Beetle” ad on the stairs outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photography by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Warner Bros

A large ad for Blue Beetle on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art draws ire.

A large advertisement for the superhero movie Blue Beetle has been installed on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, sparking mixed reactions from locals. While some have criticized the ad as an eyesore, others find it colorful and exciting. The Philadelphia Parks & Recreation department approved the ad, and the city will receive $28,000 for the seven-day installation. This move led to discussions about the use of public spaces for advertising, with some questioning the city’s approach to fundraising and the commercialization of landmarks.

Construction will limit access to Anish Kapoor’s bean sculpture in Chicago until 2024.

Construction on Grainger Plaza, surrounding Anish Kapoor’s famous stainless steel sculpture “the bean” in Chicago’s Millennium Park, has begun and will continue until spring 2024, limiting public access to one of the city’s top attractions. The $23 million sculpture, one of the largest public art installations globally, reflects the city skyline and has become a symbol of Chicago. Kapoor, who once sued the National Rifle Association for copyright infringement over the sculpture, also completed a similar piece in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood, which faced delays due to the pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis.

A ramp behind a James Wines artwork at the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. Photography by Mario Buda

Controversy brews over a newly installed ramp at Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts.

Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) recently constructed a barrier-free ramp near the artwork Tor zum Ring by James Wines, which has sparked controversy. Wines criticized the ramp’s design, stating that it obstructs views of his art piece and expressed disappointment that he wasn’t consulted during the design process. The architects, Susanne Zottl and Daniel Kerbler, defended the design, saying it honors the sculpture while meeting legal accessibility requirements. The situation highlights a missed opportunity for collaboration and raises questions about the respect and preservation of public art.

Uniqlo teams with Claire Waight Keller on a new collection of “casual chic” neutrals.  

Givenchy’s former artistic director Clare Waight Keller has created a collection for Uniqlo, called Uniqlo: C, which is set to be available in mid-September. The collection features pleated skirts, structural jackets, and oversized sweaters in Waight Keller’s signature neutral palette, aiming to bring “casual chic” to everyday wardrobes. This collaboration adds to Uniqlo’s track record of collaborating with top designers, including collections with Marni, J+, and an artistic directorship with Christophe Lemaire.

Cruise will reduce its fleet of robotaxis in San Francisco after a series of accidents.

Cruise, a General Motors subsidiary, will reduce its robotaxi fleet in San Francisco by 50 percent following multiple crashes involving its autonomous vehicles. The incidents, including a collision with a fire truck, have led to an investigation by the DMV and heightened debate in the city over the safety and impact of driverless cars. Cruise’s San Francisco general manager, Greg Dietrerich, acknowledged the recent accident and cited several contributing factors, pledging to work with regulators to reduce the likelihood of future incidents.

Image courtesy of Sotheby’s International Realty

Today’s attractive distractions:

A fleet of window-washing robots are cleaning skyscrapers across Manhattan.

These backpacks let people experience music as vibrations on their bodies.

Grace Kelly’s sumptuous vacation villa in Côte d’Azur has gone up for sale.

Rolling Stone gathers the 50 biggest mistakes in the history of television.

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