The Vessel Closes Indefinitely After Suicides, and Other News

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The Vessel at Hudson Yards. Photography by Ryan Ng

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After three suicides, Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel at Hudson Yards closes indefinitely.

After three people jumped to their death from the Vessel in less than a year, Thomas Heatherwick’s stairway to nowhere has been closed until further notice. Related Companies, the developer of Hudson Yards, said that the firm was consulting with suicide prevention experts about how to limit the potential for more suicides at the 150-foot-tall structure. The closure doesn’t bode well for Hudson Yards, which faces an uncertain future as the pandemic’s toll on office work and tourism has left the mega-development deserted for several months. Critics have been raising concerns about the monument’s safety when initial visuals were revealed back in 2016. “As one climbs up the Vessel, the railings stay just above waist height all the way up to the structure’s top,” Audrey Wachs wrote in The Architect’s Newspaper, “but when you build high, folks will jump.” 

An abandoned theme park in East Berlin is being transformed into a massive cultural site. 

The former Spreepark, an empty amusement park that’s been sitting abandoned in East Berlin since 2002, will soon get a new lease on life. Major work has started on transforming the desolate park into a cultural destination with galleries and space for artists’ residencies after more than $54 million was raised to finance the project. The former park spans 56 riverside acres completely fenced off from the public since old rides, such as a 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel, are sitting in various states of disrepair. The Ferris wheel and its 40 gondolas will be completely dismantled to see if the pieces can be used in the reconstruction, and Grün Berlin, the government-owned company that recently took over the park’s management, has put out an open call for artists and engineers to design an entirely new ride. Grün Berlin managing director Christoph Schmidt says the project aims to “artistically reinterpret the Ferris wheel in line with the overall concept of the Spreepark as a park for art, culture, and nature.” The new park is slated to open piecemeal in 2022 with final completion scheduled for 2026.

Rep. Joaquin Castro wants to bar federal buildings and property from bearing Trump’s name. 

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) announced that he plans to introduce legislation that bars federal buildings or property from being named after President Trump after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory this past week. “President Trump incited an insurrection that damaged some of our nation’s most significant and sacred federal property. Donald Trump should never become a future generation’s confederate symbol,” he wrote in a Tweet, adding: “He has conducted himself shamelessly, and I think he has done this because he believes it’s the only way, the only chance that he has to win the Republican nomination for president.” 

“The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City” by Diego Rivera at the San Francisco Art Institute

San Francisco landmarks a beloved Diego Rivera mural to block its potential sale.

San Francisco city officials have agreed to protect Diego Rivera’s The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City, a $50 million artwork at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). The city’s board of supervisors voted unanimously to designate the mural as a landmark, which would prevent SFAI from selling it to pay off its $19.7 million in debt. This would also limit how the 150-year-old institution could leverage it, an effort public officials behind the measure said will likely be off of the table for now. “There’s a lot of money in this town,” said Aaron Peskin, a board member from SFAI’s district and sponsor of the proposal. “There are better ways to get out of their mess than a harebrained scheme of selling the mural.”

Kunstmuseum Basel will exhibit works from Kara Walker’s secret archive this summer.

More than 600 unseen drawings, collages, studies, and writings from Kara Walker’s secret archive will display in Kunstmuseum Basel’s ground-floor galleries this summer. Conceived by the museum’s prints and drawings department (Kupferstichkabinett), it’ll be the celebrated American artist’s first major solo exhibition in Switzerland. The Kunstmuseum has been in cahoots with Walker and her gallery, Sikkema Jenkins, for years: “I invited Kara Walker to do an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel and proposed a focus on her drawings rather than her cutouts,” says Anita Haldemann, who curated the exhibition. “She liked the idea to show her work in a museum that has a very important Kupferstichkabinett, meaning one of the oldest public collections of prints and drawings. A few months later, Kara decided she was ready to go through her own archive and offered to open it for the show in Basel.” 

After the Capitol takeover, Airbnb cancels all D.C. reservations during the inauguration.

With Washington D.C. and the nation on edge after the deadly attack on the capitol this past week, and federal authorities warning about the rising threat of armed extremists targeting the President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration, Airbnb is canceling all reservations in the Metro D.C. area during inauguration week. The company announced that it will block all new bookings and refund existing ones while promising to refund guests and reimburse hosts for the revenue lost from canceled reservations. “[D.C.] Mayor Bowser, [Maryland] Governor Hogan and [Virginia] Governor Northam have been clear that visitors should not travel to the D.C. Metro area for the Inauguration,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday. “Additionally, we are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration.”


Today’s attractive distractions:

This Brazilian waxworker’s sculptures went viral for the wrong reasons.

Here’s what manipulated images looked like before the Photoshop era.

Pac-Man’s impact on gaming transcends fluid control and rich graphics.

Tiffany’s latest collection pays homage to their storied New York flagship.

All Stories