"Very modern" and contemporary art? “Too conceptual”, “I don't understand it”, many say… but they have never visited the Whitney Museum! New York is the famous “city that never sleeps”, a consolidated symbol of modernity and a whirlwind lifestyle, but what happens when this hunger for life meets art? Does 23.000 works in the collection tell you something? And a building designed by none other than Renzo Piano?
All this is the Whitney Museum: located in a new building recently built, it is located in the southwestern part of Manhattan, very close to Greenwich Village, the Chelsea district and the Hudson River bank.
In short, the day started a little melancholy, do you feel existentialist and would you rather let yourself go to the fun? The only thing you are missing is a heart-breaking sunset reflected on the glass and feeling a little radical chic / artistic? You want to try to board the Woody Allen in "Try Again Sam"? Are you in the mood for reflections on the relationship between man and modernity? Then it's the right day to visit the Whitney!
But let's dig in a little bit:
- Whitney Museum of American Art: a bit of history
- The New Whitney Museum according to Renzo Piano's project
- Where is the Whitney Museum of American Art and how to get there
- How to visit the Whitney Museum of American Art
- Permanent collection
- Temporary exhibitions and events
- Foto, video, audioguide e tours al Whitney Museum
- Lo shop del Whitney Museum
- Whitney Museum: ticket timetables, prices and useful information
- New York pass in which it is included
- Where to eat around the Whitney Museum of American Art
Whitney Museum of American Art: a bit of history
The Whitney Museum was born from the spirit of patron of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney at the beginning of the twentieth century: this sculptress and collector realized that young American artists had a hard time "breaking into" the world of art and exhibiting, and therefore selling, their works. So she decided to create a space dedicated to them. In 1914 she, thus, she opened the Whitney Studio, a space where all the artists whose work was frowned upon or disowned by the traditional academy could exhibit their works.
By 1929, Gertrude's collection had already reached 500 works: the woman decided to donate them to the Museum Metropolitan, who however refused the offer. She therefore decided to found her own museum, which opened in 1931 under the name of "Whitney Museum of American Art”: However, it was located on West Eighth Street in Greenwich Village, the district famous for being the hotbed of many cultural, artistic and social movements.
Slowly, the collection expanded more and more, despite Gertrude's death in 1942: this continuous expansion led the museum to change two other locations, up to the current one, inaugurated on May 2015, 99, at XNUMX Gansevoort Street .
The New Whitney Museum according to Renzo Piano's project
As I have already mentioned, the current home of the Whitney Museum was inaugurated just recently, and was designed by Renzo Piano: at first glance, it strikes us with its asymmetry, with the juxtaposition of blocks, counterblocks and windows. All this reminds us a bit of a mix between an industrial building, a colossal ship about to set sail, a locomotive, an office center: in short, the "pivotal places" of modernity seem to be represented, in a way that does not forget the drama. of our age.
Significantly, the short sides of the building overlook two elements, naturalistic at first glance, but which have always interacted with the technological development carried out by man, or respectively: to the west, on theHudson river; to the east, on the High Line, the "elevated park" obtained from a disused freight track, which runs through the town from Gansevoort Street to 34th street in the district of Hell's kitchen. In addition, the building contains the largest column-free exhibition space in New York.
A word also about the neighborhood: in fact it is the Meatpacking District, once dedicated to meat processing venues and now filled with upscale restaurants, clubs and hotels. Its "neighbors" are no less: the Chelsea "neighborhood" with which it borders to the north, in fact, is instead renowned for its galleries and cultural associations, while the West Village to the south offers cobbled streets full of charm.
Where is the Whitney Museum of American Art and how to get there
By metro, the closest stop to the museum is 14 Street Station, from which the lines A, C, E, L pass: once you get off, it is a 10 minute walk to the museum, and it is almost straight (Gansevoort St is a few steps from the stop). If you are not sure how to use the subway, I remind you of our guide on how to use the subway in New York.
Even by bus the museum is well connected, but it depends on where you come from: on the official website of the museum you can find detailed information.
How to visit the Whitney Museum of American Art
You will certainly not expect an "easy" encounter with this museum, given the complexity expressed only by the building that houses it! In fact, there is not even a map on the site! (Or at least, I haven't found it)
This, probably, because whoever comes here must be willing to do it involve in an art experience "All-round", which does not happen without the participation of the viewer. But we do not get discouraged and try to give you an idea even so "cold" 😉
First, too the entrance is already an adventure: in fact it is built in such a way as to be dominated by one of the "blocks" that make up the structure of the Whitney, which thus creates a kind of "wide": the visitors gathered here only have to look around to get into a first spectacle: on one side, the river, on the other the luxuriant trees (raised!), above them the concrete ... and around them, the equally amazed faces of the other visitors, all gathered there by the love for art (the Renzo Piano imagined this, eh, not me!)
But in short, what's inside?
As I said at the beginning, the museum's collection counts well 23.000 pieces! Not all are therefore exposed at the same time, it would be inhuman to look at them all at once. So if you have any artist you particularly love whose works are kept here, I suggest you check at this link if the painting or installation you want to see live is really on display when you go to visit the museum: thanks to the bar search, you can do a quick check by entering the name of the artist or work.
If you like it Hopper, happen well: the collection of paintings and drawings by this artist is very rich, and, at the time of writing, mainly "on view".
But the great painter of epic characters in waiting is not the only famous artist you can find at the Whitney museum: some, indeed, will reveal themselves to you in new garments that you may not have expected. For example, Man Ray is famous for his photos: at the Whitney, however, you can also find many of his works as a painter, such as "La fortune", a surrealist painting in oil on linen.
There are also preserved many paintings by Jackson Pollock: but most of them are not in the famous style of “drip painting” that made him famous, but more figurative. As for Keith Haring, there are 6 of his works available here, including the "Altarpiece", which he sculpted when he was already ill with AIDS and which is basically composed like a Russian icon, with inspired figures to the life of Christ.
Are you inexperienced in American painting and are you afraid of breaking the boxes? In my opinion, however, it is worth giving these artists a chance: the paintings and photos, although not very famous for an average Spaniard (I don't want art lovers), are very beautiful and particular: I'm sure you will find the your "love at first sight" even among artists you do not know.
If you can't find a specific artist or you want to know how to see a work not “on view”, here in the FAQ you are given two addresses to ask for info.
Temporary exhibitions and events
Of course, the Whitney Museum also houses periodic exhibitions, of which you can consult the program on the official website.
Inside, then, in addition to the permanent exhibitions, you can find:
- A "school”Whose program is full of workshops, lessons and meetings with various artists and intellectuals;
- Un cinema / theater structured as a "black box", where it is possible to see installations, videos and films;
- A "theater”Of 170 seats from which you can admire stunning views of the Hudson River;
- the "Works of paper study center”, Equipped with a conservation laboratory and a reading room.
The complete list of events organized by the museum can be found here. ATTENTION! For some events you may need an additional ticket. Check carefully!
Foto, video, audioguide e tours al Whitney Museum
Inside the museum you can take pictures for personal use and non-commercial, except where it is expressly prohibited. The use of tripods, flashes and selfie sticks is also prohibited. You cannot bring food and drink into the galleries and even drawing objects; moreover it is forbidden to smoke.
IMPORTANT: the museum is equipped with a Family Room, that is the children's area.
Le audioguide they cost 6 $, but they are free for the under 18 and the disabled. There is also the possibility of viewing video guides in sign language.
They are also available every day Free guided tours, focused on certain themes and artists, to which you can join without booking. You can check the days and times here.
Lo shop del Whitney Museum
If you also have a friend who is passionate about contemporary art, you will surely have seen him supplied, on various occasions, with "special" accessories: we do not know if they are useful or functional, but they were certainly COOL. For example, I had a friend who had a wallet made from a typical milk carton. Or that he once brought me a watch that went backwards as a gift. Well, do you know where they buy these cool accessories? In the shops of the museums of Contemporary Art!
It's these places, their cool hustlers!
So you MUST go to the Whitney Museum shop; I'm not going to tell you all the types of items available: they range from gadgets, to clothing, to pillows, to costume jewelery, to bags, to prints; as well as, of course, the catalogs of the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.
On the shop website you will find all the items: moreover, if you can't wait and want a FICO accessory to brag about as soon as possible, there is also the possibility to buy online! (There is also the “Under 50 $” section).
Whitney Museum: ticket timetables, prices and useful information
Do you know another reason to visit the Whitney Museum? The timetable!
Well yes: there are in fact some days when the museum even closes at 22pm! This way you can start your radical chic Friday evening in the best possible way .;) Specifically:
- Monday: 10:30 - 18
- Tuesday: Closed
- Wednesday: 10:30 -1 8
- Thursday: 10:30 - 18
- Friday: 10:30 - 22
- Saturday: 11:00 - 18
- Sunday: 11:00 - 18
However, the museum is closed, in addition to every Tuesday, also for Thanksgiving Day and for Christmas.
Tickets for the Whitney Museum cost:
- $ 25 for adults;
- $ 18 for seniors and students
- Free under 18.
Buy Whitney tickets
For visitors with disabilities of various kinds and degrees, the museum has special accessibility programs, which you can always check on the official website.
All visitors over 12 years old must give proof of vaccination. A mask must be worn indoors in the museum.
New York pass in which it is included
If you prefer to organize yourself with passport, admission to the Whitney is included in:
- Go City New York Explorer Pass
- New York Sightseeing Pass Flex e Day
- New York Pass
Additionally, it is possible to enter the Whitney museum with the option Pay what you wish Friday from 19pm to 22pm (important: the ticket office closes half an hour before closing, so if you intend to use this option, arrive before 21pm).
Where to eat around the Whitney Museum of American Art
If contemporary art makes you hungry, or you have arrived at the museum after walking all along the Highline, the Museum has two dining options: a restaurant and a cafe.
- The restaurant "Untitled”Is located on the first floor but is accessible from the ground floor, and offers American cuisine with fusion influences. Unlike the museum, the Untitled is also open for lunch and dinner on Tuesdays. It is also open for breakfast every day except Tuesdays. Saturday and Sunday, the opening of the lunch time is anticipated in order to be able to serve brunch. You can see the exact and updated timetables here.
- I "Studio Cafe”Instead is located on the eighth floor, and serves more“ bar ”dishes, such as salads, toasts, etc. It enjoys stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and is open daily from 11am to 17pm, except Fridays and Saturdays which are open until 21pm.
Otherwise, if you prefer to go out and enjoy the atmosphere of the neighborhood, right next to the museum, on the side of the High Line, overlooking Washington Street, there is the Spanish restaurant "Santina". If you need a quick fix of protein, you can find it a little further on Little West 12th Street SteakHouse STK Downtown. A few steps towards the Hudson, and at 848 Washington Street you can find a beer garden, lo Standard beer gardens.
Or otherwise, since you are just a few steps away from the Greenwich Village… Indulge yourself after a visit of a high cultural level is a must! Take a look at our itinerary of the Village between rock and counterculture, you will find numerous ideas about it ...