Hiroki Odo Heads to the Catskills, and Other News

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Hiroki Odo Heads to the Catskills

In 1875, James Beecher—brother of Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe—built an elegant home for himself on the banks of the highest lake in the Catskills. A century later, with the surrounding 1,400 woodsy acres still pristine, the house became a zen retreat. An extensive 2021 renovation opened it up to the sky, courtesy of a new solarium, and what’s now known as Beecher Lake, courtesy of a welcoming deck. And this June 4 and 5, guests can experience the house’s long history of uniting the senses as Hiroki Odo, who earned a Michelin star at New York’s Kajitsu, transforms it into a shojin home of his own. 

Odo’s iteration of the traditional Japanese vegan cuisine will focus on ingredients sourced from the Catskills itself: a sample menu includes an Aemono offering of morel, chanterelle, and summer truffle; while the Shiru dish balances white miso, charred eggplant, lotus root, and ramps. The intimate experience is limited to ten guests per day, and keeping with the spirit of presence, neither alcohol nor cell service will be available—but meditation sessions and tea ceremonies led by Rev. Dr. Masaki Matsubara will take place in the retreat’s welcome absolute silence. —Jesse Dorris

LVMH Cheval Blanc hotel proposal on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. Image courtesy of LVMH

Cheval Blanc, LVMH’s controversial hotel project in Beverly Hills, will not proceed.

The suspense surrounding the fate of LVMH’s Cheval Blanc hotel project on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills has ended, as the company conceded defeat following a slim majority against the proposal in a special election. Although some votes remain uncounted, LVMH acknowledged the measures fell short, overturning years of review and approval. The project, which would have brought significant investment and funding to the city, will not be pursued further if the final vote confirms the rejection.

The feds indict climate activists who smeared paint on a sculpture in Washington, DC.

Federal charges have been brought against two climate activists who vandalized a Degas sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The indictment alleges Timothy Martin and Joanna Smith, along with unnamed co-conspirators, planned the attack, alerted the media, and entered the museum with paint-filled water bottles to damage an exhibit. The protest aimed to draw attention to the climate crisis and demand action from Joe Biden. If convicted, Martin and Smith could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

SFMOMA. Photography by Henrik Kam

Kara Walker will create a major installation at SFMOMA’s Roberts Family Gallery…

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has chosen Kara Walker to create a site-specific installation for its Roberts Family Gallery. Slated to open in July 2024, the installation will respond to the gallery’s glass enclosure and explore historical preservation techniques. SFMOMA curator Eungie Joo is organizing the exhibition, which will be accessible to the public with free admission. This marks the first time an artist has created a site-specific installation in this space, which has previously showcased works by such renowned artists as Richard Serra, Diego Rivera, and JR.

…while SFMOMA’s once-glimmering east facade is now covered in smears of grime.

When the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) reopened in 2016 after a $305 million expansion, its attention-grabbing facade was likened to a “crinkled origami cloud.” Now covered in smears of grime resembling algae or moss, it looks far from its original shimmering appearance. The museum’s cleaning apparatus is reportedly no longer functional, and they are currently seeking alternate methods to clean the facade. 

Paris 2024 organizers are planning to place the Olympic flame on the Eiffel Tower. 

Paris 2024 organizers are making plans to place the Olympic flame on the Eiffel Tower, according to sources familiar with the matter. Technical constraints, however, are preventing it from being positioned at the top of the tower, and it remains unclear whether the flame will remain on the monument throughout the Games. The combination of these two iconic symbols is expected to create a captivating backdrop for the event, which takes place July 26–Aug. 11 next year. At press time, a spokesperson didn’t confirm the location for lighting the flame on the Opening Day but did not deny the efforts to install it on the Eiffel Tower.

Rendering of YOO GYE in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Image courtesy of YOO Inspired by Starck

Philippe Starck unveils visuals for a new residential skyscraper in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Developer Uribe Schwarzkopf has revealed the design for the YOO GYE residential skyscraper in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in collaboration with YOO Inspired by Starck. The 577-foot-tall tower will be situated by the Rio Guayas and will feature setbacks with arches that create outdoor communal spaces adorned with native vegetation. The building, designed by French multihyphenate Philippe Starck, aims to foster happiness and human connection, offering a range of amenities such as spas, pools, cinemas, and retail spaces.

Venetian authorities find out why part of the Grand Canal turned fluorescent green.

Local authorities in Venice have determined the transformation of a section of the Grand Canal into fluorescent green was caused by fluorescein, a non-toxic substance used for wastewater network testing. Analysis conducted by the regional agency for environmental prevention and protection confirmed the presence of fluorescein in samples taken, but no toxic elements were detected. Speculation about the incident being a protest by climate change activists prompted a police investigation, although it is not the first time the Grand Canal has been intentionally turned green for artistic and ecological purposes.

A view of the French Riviera from Matisse’s former apartment. Image courtesy of Côte D’Azur Sotheby’s International Realty

Today’s attractive distractions:

Guinness World Records may be fun, but is it just another big business?

After it sold at auction, a Van Gogh seemingly vanished without a trace

Here’s now the U.S. almost became a nation of hippopotamus ranchers.

Henri Matisse’s famous home on the French Riviera lists for $2.6 million.

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