Daily digest: A unionization push at the Guggenheim, a COVID memorial will go on display at the National Mall, and more

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Daily digest: A unionization push at the Guggenheim, a COVID memorial will go on display at the National Mall, and more

Outside of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Manhattan’s Museum Mile (Reno Laithienne/Unsplash)

Welcome back to another Tuesday roundup, as the art, architecture, and design news continues to roll in.

Here’s what you need to know today:

A sea of white flags will wash over the National Mall this September in remembrance

There are currently no plans for a national memorial to the more than 600,000 who lost their lives to COVID-19, but an exhibition this fall will attempt to visualize the U.S.’s monumental death toll on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

From September 17 through October 3, more than 610,000 white flags, arranged in 142 sections intersected with 3.8 miles of walking paths, will blanket the National Mall in one of the largest displays of public art ever erected there. In America: Remember will also list the names of each person every individual flag represents and a personalized message. The monumental exhibition will also be available to peruse digitally.

H/t to AP News

The Guggenheim is the next art museum to push for unionization

On Friday, July 30, employees of Manhattan’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum began their push to create a new union, joining a slew of other New York cultural institutions who have done the same in recent months (yesterday, Whitney employees voted 96-to-1 to join Local 2110 in response to earlier pandemic layoffs). Curators, educators, visitor-facing employees, conservators, and more are now petitioning the museum to join Local 2110, a section of the Auto Workers Union, for increased job security, healthcare, and clearer communication between senior management and workers. The museum has reportedly received the petition to unionize and will announce its next move sometime soon.

H/t to The Art Newspaper

The 9/11 Museum will scrap its 20th-anniversary celebrations due to budget woes

After weathering a budget crisis brought on by the pandemic and slashing 60 percent of its staff, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum has dropped plans for a blockbuster 20-year retrospective exhibition ahead of the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Instead, the museum will refocus on its core displays (after laying off half of the exhibitions department). The troubles bearing down the museum, as well as the focus of its president, Alice Greenwald, on a “clash of civilizations” narrative rather than a comprehensive history of the site and the interfaith coming together that took place after the attacks (as well as the bigotry faced by Muslims in its wake), has led to calls to reform the museum.

H/t to the New York Times

Four cities in the U.S. are the most expensive places in the world to in which to build

Surprising no one, a new construction market survey has pegged Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles as some of the most expensive places in the world in which to build. According to Turner & Townsend’s 2021 international construction market survey, which ranked the top ten most expensive cities worldwide, the U.S. made the list four separate times, more than any other country. (Tokyo was number one and Hong Kong was number two, while London came in eight, right under Boston at number seven.)

The survey, conducted while COVID rates continue to upswing, points toward supply chain disruptions and material shortages caused by the pandemic, a slowdown of skilled migrant labor (again, pandemic related), and high wages in North America as the culprits.

H/t to Smart Cities Dive

A fake iceberg at the Titanic Museum in Tennessee collapsed, injuring three

A wall of ice came crashing down on visitors at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on Monday, sending three guests to the hospital. The wall, part of an iceberg exhibit that allowed visitors to touch it, was reportedly “gone” by Tuesday and will take at least four weeks for the museum to rebuild. The area has been blocked off and an investigation into why the fake iceberg collapsed is underway.

H/t to WBIR

Eight years after submitting an application, Populous’s Belfast stadium is approved

After submitting an initial application for a new arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, all the way back in June of 2013, Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon has signed off on the project after the community complained about the project’s size. Originally submitted as a 38,000-seat redevelopment of the existing Gaelic arena, residents complained about the soccer stadium’s scope, and a smaller plan was submitted in 2017. That 34,500-seat stadium scheme was the one that was ultimately approved last month.

H/t to the Architects’ Journal