LACMA’s Demolished Buildings Repurposed Into Public Art, and Other News

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LACMA’s demolished buildings may be repurposed into a public art project at a local park.

The three buildings that LACMA demolished to make way for Peter Zumthor’s controversial expansion might be gone forever in their original form, but the artist Cayetano Ferrer has preserved fragments for a public art installation that may form the centerpiece of a new park in West Hollywood. “The first reaction I was getting is, ‘Why would you want to preserve such a mediocre building?’” he tells the Los Angeles Times. Instead, Ferrer is focusing on how the fragments might function as a contemporary ruin and offer Angelenos a palpable slice of their city’s built history. “This is a very privatized city, and there aren’t a lot of spaces like public plazas where that might occur, where the past might be layered upon,” he continues. The park is still in planning phases and was recently approved by West Hollywood’s City Council. Until then, Ferrer is exhibiting the fragments in a one-day show in Pasadena organized with Commonwealth and Council gallery.

New York stipulates all indoor dining, gyms, and performances to require vaccination.

As coronavirus cases steadily rise nationwide, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio launches a new scheme that requires all indoor and most outdoor activities to request proof of vaccination for all customers. Although data shows that the city is 66 percent vaccinated, the recent policy aims to curtail the next wave of infections propagated by the Delta variant and stations New York as the first U.S. city to mandate vaccination. In order to enter indoor facilities, patrons must register for the state app Excelsior or have their vaccination card on hand. “If you want to participate in our society fully, you’ve got to get vaccinated,” says de Blasio. “It’s time.”

Half a million white flags will be planted at the National Mall as a pandemic memorial.   

Following her first iteration of 267,080 white flags near Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, the artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg will move on to the National Mall in September to memorialize Americans lost during the pandemic. Across 20 acres, “In America: Remember” will feature 610,000 white flags, each inscribed with memories from loved ones that operate as a visual response to our collective mourning. The tribute fuses digital with physical by using an Esri-developed software that enables attendees to transcribe notes from absent parties onto a flag. “I knew as a visual artist that I had to create art that would help people understand the magnitude of this loss, so I arrived at the idea of planting flags,” says Firstenberg. “A flag will ripple in the wind and interact with the environment. And the mass of them would really look like what it really was at that time: a flag of surrender.”

Employees of the Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim vote to unionize in New York. 

After two rounds of layoffs during the pandemic and a two-month campaign, workers at the Whitney Museum voted 96-1 to join Local 2110, a division of the United Auto Workers union. The move is yet another domino in the organizing movements that have taken hold of the art world in recent years—successful unionization efforts have occurred at the New Museum, Hispanic Society, the Guggenheim Museum, and others, with the Brooklyn Museum seemingly next. “We are looking forward to sitting down with Whitney Museum leadership to start the bargaining process,” the Whitney union wrote on Instagram. “Celebrations ahead!”

An iceberg wall display at Tennessee’s Titanic Museum collapses, injuring three visitors.

Earlier this week, tragedy struck the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, when an icy display collapsed and caused three visitors to be hospitalized. The wall is located on the museum’s Promenade Deck, which replicates the bitter nighttime conditions when the ill-fated vessel struck an iceberg and sank. The interactive showcase encourages visitors to touch a wall of ice. “The iceberg wall does not currently exist, and the affected area has been blocked off for the time being,” Mary Kellog Joslyn and John Joslyn, the owners, wrote in a statement. “We anticipate it will take at least four weeks for the iceberg to rebuild.”

Piaggio Fast Forward’s Gita debuts as the first consumer-following, cargo-carrying robot. 

From traversing paved Italian streets on a Vespa Scooter to returning from the grocery store unscathed, the Piaggio Group seamlessly bridges technology and society through the launch of the first consumer robot, Gita (pronounced ‘jee-ta’). Designed in Boston by Greg Lynn, the co-founder and CEO of Piaggio Fast Forward, the self-driving cargo carrier pairs itself to its owner, fusing its 360-degree sensory technology and pedestrian etiquette program to dynamically navigate its surroundings. Equipped to hold 40 pounds of cargo, the Gita operates on a hands-free mantra, enabling its owner to walk further without the inconvenience of weight, reducing their carbon footprint and living a healthier, hassle-free lifestyle. 

The Met Gala taps ten rising chefs to design a plant-based menu for this year’s event.

A cadre of ten up-and-coming chefs will join forces to design a super-charged plant-based menu for this year’s Costume Institute Benefit, also known as the Met Gala, which will showcase the exhibition “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” Selected by prolific chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, each chef will contribute one recipe for either a canapé, an entrée, or a dessert in a new interpretation of regional American cuisine.  “After a difficult two years for the restaurant industry, this will showcase the work and tell the stories of a dynamic group of chefs while presenting an exciting menu of delicious, plant-based dishes,” says Samuelsson. “The Met Gala offers an incomparable opportunity for emerging talent to elevate their careers and share their perspectives and craft.” The 10 New York–based talents: Fariyal Abdullahi, Nasim Alikhani, Emma Bengtsson, Lazarus Lynch, Junghyun Park, Erik Ramirez, Thomas Raquel, Sophia Roe, Simone Tong, and Fabian von Hauske.

Today’s attractive distractions:

Enter Convergence Station, a cosmic inter-dimensional galaxy display by Meow Wolf. 

Pokémon is giving away a replica of the bike from the original Red and Blue games.

Louis Vuitton is celebrating 200 years with a video game, documentary, and novel. 

Amazon’s latest Climate Pledge ad looks flashy, but is missing the bigger picture.

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