Roy Lichtenstein Studio
Updated October 27, 2023
The Whitney Museum of American Art has completed a full renovation of artist Roy Lichtenstein’s former home and studio at 741/745 Washington Street in Greenwich Village, now the permanent space for its renowned Independent Study Program (ISP).
The ISP—a core component of the Whitney’s role as a champion of American art and artists since 1968—has instructed more than two generations of artists, curators, art historians, and critics, providing participants with the instruction, space and support needed to pursue their artistic endeavors. Alumni of the program include artists Jennifer Allora, Gregg Bordowitz, Tony Cokes, Danielle Dean, Mark Dion, Andrea Fraser, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Renée Green, Jenny Holzer, Emily Jacir, Glenn Ligon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Julian Schnabel; critics and art historians Huey Copeland, Miwon Kwon, Pamela M. Lee, and Roberta Smith; and curators Carlos Basualdo, Naomi Beckwith, and Sheena Wagstaff, among many others.
Despite its prominence and importance, it has never had a permanent home—until now.
Architects Johnston Marklee led the thoughtful design of the project, making respectful modifications to update the over 100-year-old building to accommodate modern artist studios, a seminar room, study rooms, outdoor spaces, a third-floor artist-in-residence addition, and amenities such as lounges and dining areas while also preserving the legacy and historic integrity of the structure.
The now 11,000-square-foot building at 741/745 Washington Street was constructed in 1912 as a metalworking shop. Lichtenstein bought the building in 1987 after he “fell in love with it,” according to Dorothy Lichtenstein, and used it as his New York residence and studio from 1988 to 1997. In the years since, the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation has utilized the building for various activities, including the preparation of the archives and creation of the catalogue raisonné. In 2022, the Lichtenstein family donated the building to the Whitney. The Whitney has had a close relationship with the late artist since first displaying his work in 1965.
The project—made possible thanks to an extraordinary act of generosity by Dorothy Lichtenstein on behalf of the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein and approved by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2022—retained several historic elements from Roy Lichtenstein’s time, such as a chandelier in the central stairway, ornamental metal details, and the artist’s unique rail system for hanging his oversized paintings to dry; they remain on the first floor of the building as an inspiring reminder of the work done in that space previously.
The space will primarily be used for the Whitney’s ISP, a core component of the Whitney’s role as a champion of American art and artists since 1968. When the ISP is out of session, the Whitney intends to use the space for educational programs for teens and other New Yorkers.
This project was made possible by Dorothy Lichtenstein and family, and the following donors: David Cancel and Family, Rosemary and Kevin W. McNeely, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Katja Goldman and Michael Sonnenfeldt, Nancy and Fred Poses, the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust, Pamella Roland DeVos and Daniel DeVos, Marti Meyerson and Jamie Hooper, Jen Rubio and Stewart Butterfield, Gloria H. Spivak, and Fern and Lenard Tessler.
The owner’s representative for the renovation was Envoie Projects. The construction manager was Riverside Builders.