Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
When the Vessel opened in March of 2019, it was seen by many as an aesthetically challenged symbol of corrupt opulence and suspicious financing. But now, for the third time in less than a year, a person died by suicide after leaping from the 150-foot-tall structure at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. The divisive site has shuttered indefinitely after the most recent incident on Monday, January 11.
The deceased was identified as Franklin Washington, a 21-year-old man from San Antonio, Texas. His death came just weeks after a 24-year-old woman from Brooklyn jumped to her death from the Vessel on December 21. In February of last year, a 19-year-old New Jersey man died at the Vessel in a similar fashion.
A spokesman for Related Companies, the developer of Hudson Yards, told the New York Times that the structure was “temporarily closed” and that the company was consulting with suicide-prevention experts and psychiatrists about how to curb the phenomenon. However, the chairman of Manhattan’s Community Board 4, Lowell Kern, told the newspaper that the site will likely stay closed indefinitely.
Related Companies has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.
Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the 15-story copper-clad structure quickly became a tourist attraction after it opened in 2019. But since the pandemic started, its 154 stairways and 80 landings remained largely deserted.
Critics had warned about the likelihood of suicide attempts at the Vessel long before it opened. Audrey Wachs, a former associate editor at the Architect’s Newspaper, wrote in 2016: “As one climbs up Vessel, the railings stay just above waist height all the way up to the structure’s top, but when you build high, folks will jump.”
In March of 2020, just a few weeks after the first suicide at the site, Community Board 4 sent a letter to Related Companies, urging the firm to do more than suicide prevention training of its security staff and consulting with suicide-prevention experts, which it had promised at the time.
“Because the Vessel’s chest-high barrier is all that separates the platform from the edge, the likelihood of a similar, terribly sad loss of life cannot be ignored,” the letter reads.
According to Kern, the developer seemed hesitant to alter the design of the Vessel, which is considered a work of art. In an interview with the Times, the chairman asked: “After three suicides, at what point does the artistic vision take a back seat to safety?”
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…