The Whitney of the future will be downtown in the Meatpacking District—a former industrial neighborhood of New York City now a destination for vanguard architecture, design, fashion, restaurants, and soon…an extraordinary museum.
The Whitney Museum of American Art was founded by sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and opened its doors in 1931 in Greenwich Village. It was the first museum to focus exclusively on art and artists of the United States.
In 1954, the Museum relocated to an expanded space on 54th Street which it quickly outgrew, and moved to its current location on Madison Avenue and 75th Street in 1966.
The new building on Gansevoort Street will be bordered by the Hudson River and the southern entrance to the High Line, New York’s beloved new elevated park, which runs through Chelsea’s non-profit arts institutions and the largest gallery district in the world.
The future Whitney is designed to embrace and reciprocate the energy of the neighborhood and provide a stimulating and immersive space in which to experience art.
Renzo Piano’s design invites the neighborhood into the museum through a continual play of interior and exterior exhibition spaces.
A grand staircase leads to the temporary exhibition space of more than 18,000 square feet—the largest column-free museum gallery in New York City—providing unprecedented opportunities to show innovative work across all media.
Totaling 25,000 square feet, the next two floors will offer the first comprehensive view of the Whitney’s unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art, which has grown from 2,000 works in 1966 to more than 19,000 today.
The top floor features a sky-lit gallery for large-scale artists’ projects and an indoor and outdoor café.
There are 13,000 square feet of outdoor galleries spread across four levels that will be used for exhibitions with the city as their backdrop.
A study center, conservation-lab, research library, and state-of-the-art classrooms link the Museum’s intellectual resources with the galleries and other public spaces.
The Whitney’s new theater allows for multiple configurations and uses, including performance, film and installation. In a proscenium arrangement, it houses 170 seats.
Reaching high and west towards the Hudson, and stepping back gracefully east from the vibrant streets of the city, the museum will be the cultural anchor for this evolving neighborhood and provide flexible and aspirational spaces for contemporary artists to realize their visions.