The Whitney has found a new home! Known for its focus on 20th and 21st century American art and its annual and Biennial exhibitions that serve as a venue to showcase younger and less well-known artists, the Whitney has for many years had a “space” problem. The new commissioned building, designed by Renzi Piano, who also designed the New York Times building, has taken care of that. The new venue spans 200,000 square feet over nine stores in the West Village/Meatpacking district of New York City. The new spaces are light-filled and open, with views of the Hudson River and the West Village. It has the city’s largest column-free art gallery, an education center, theater, library, reading rooms and a conservation lab. It is much more open and expansive than the old buildings.
The Whitney has come full circle with its return to downtown. It began in Greenwich Village, when its founder, the American socialite and art patron; Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney opened the first museum on 8th Street in 1931. She felt there was a need to collect and promote American avant-garde art at a time when it was more fashionable to collect European modernism.
From 1966 to 2014 the collection was housed on the Upper East Side on Madison Avenue in a building designed by Marcel Breuer and Hamilton P. Smith. With its distinctive modern style and upside-down stair façade, it is easily distinguished from the neighboring townhouses. After many failed plans to expand the Madison venue, the new downtown building was commissioned at 99 Gansevoort Street. It began in 2010 and was completed in 2015. The new building is the home to 600 works by over 400 artists.
Some of the artists that you may recognize: Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Elizabeth Peyton, Andrew Wyeth, and Kara Walker.
If you can’t make it to the new museum you can check out a rotating selection of the collection on the museum’s website at ‘ARTPORT’.
It is a must to add to the museum circuit for locals or visitors alike.