The Whitney - Museum of American Contemporary Art

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Categories: What to see - Museums

The Whitney Museum of American Art, known simply as The Whitney occupies a special space in the art world in New York City dealing exclusively with contemporary American Art. 

Brief History of the Whitney Museum 

Since its inception in 1931, the museum has supported innovative arts and young artists as the founders wanted. Gertrude Vanderbilt (1875-1942) granddaughter, and heir to the great Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt's empire, married - at the age of 21 - Harry Payne Whitney whose personal wealth came from oil, tobacco, and financial services.
Instead of choosing a life of ease and leisure, Gertrude dedicated herself to sculpture and becomes an art patron. In 1907, she opened her own studio in Greenwich Village and began receiving commissions for monumental sculptures. In Stuyvesant Square, you can still see the statue of Peter Stuyvesant.

She began collecting works by innovative artists such as John Sloan and Robert Henri and began organizing exhibitions for emerging painters. Also during this period, she met and began a relationship of friendship and collaboration with Juliana Rieser Force, a collaboration that will continue over the years and which will see Juliana Reiser hold the position of the founding president of the Whitney.

While in America the galleries are occupied almost exclusively by European art, however, Vanderbilt-Whitney became increasingly devoted and preoccupied with the American arts and artists, directing all her philanthropism towards artists still unknown but whose work she admired. In 1914, she opened the first gallery adjacent to her studio and which still houses "The New York Studio School," four years later, she founded the Whitney Studio Club which, among other things, was responsible for providing apartments and studios for artists who couldn't afford to pay for rent.

Her collection, meanwhile, had reached 500 pieces of art-work, including pieces by Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, Reginald Marsh, Bellows, Benton, and Sheeler, and in 1929 she offered them to the Metropolitan Museum that famously refused the collection. So, it was in 1931 that she decided to found the museum to showcase her extensive collection. In 1954, she moved to a building near the Met Museum but soon, she needed more space, and in 1966, she moved to Madison Avenue and 74th street.

The Whitney's former home 

The Madison Avenue building was designed by Marcel Breuer, one of the pioneers of Modernism. The exterior is covered in dark gray granite and there is a courtyard for the sculptures, the internal rooms, however, have been created to give maximum flexibility since Whitney's philosophy was to prefer temporary exhibitions to the permanent ones and therefore in constant preparation and evolution. Now the building houses one of the branch offices of the Metropoltan Museum: The MET BREUER

The Whitney's new home

In May 2015, the brand new Whitney Museum opened up in the Meatpacking District. The brand-new building was designed by architect Renzo Piano. It includes around 53,8196 sq. feet (50,000 sq. mt.) of internal galleries plus 139,931 sq. feet (13,000 sq. mt.) of outdoor space that overlooks the High Line. It also boasts the largest column-less museum gallery in New York City.


Where is the Whitney Museum is located? #99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014
Subway Lines: the closest lines are A, C, E, and L on 14th Street and 8th Avenue..

Opening Schedule:
Monday: 10:30am - 6:00pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 10:30am - 6:00pm
Thursday: 10:30am - 6:00pm
Friday: 10:30am - 10:00pm
Saturday: 10:30am - 10:00pm
Sunday: 10:30am - 6:00pm
$25 Adults - $18 Seniors, students and visitors with disabilities - Free from Age 0 - 18
Pay-What-You-Wish Tickets: are available at the reception on Friday from 7pm to 7:30pm - They cannot be purchased in advance.

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The museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas day.

Visit the official website for updated info including FUTURE EXHIBITIONS


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