Saturday, May 2, 2015

Museums | NYC, Whitney: A Museum With Many Views

Full Moon from the seventh floor terrace
“America Is Hard to See” is the title of first exhibition of the Whitney Museum which opened on May 1st, after four years of construction. America may be hard to see but not New York City. At least from the Whitney new building terraces, where the museum visitors can have a 360-degree view of New York City skyline.
The building, designed by Renzo Piano, is not your mama’s museum: the white box art container whose architectural minimalistic features would render the building as a neutral backdrop for the art. But this is not a new approach: museum buildings have become in competition with the art. The trend has probably started becoming a prominent feature from the Guggenheim, already with the Fifth Avenue building, one of the many signature building by Frank Lloyd Wright. And of course the Bilbao Guggenheim, by the other archistar named Frank (Gehry); the artichoke
The new Whitney building is located at southernmost access of the High Line, in the Meatpacking District, next to the West Side Highway and the Hudson River. I have mixed first impressions about the building: a confused typology, circulation may not ideal; considering the budget and other numbers —120000 square feet, four terraces, eight floors— perhaps a more engaging urban statement could have been made?
Yet it is great place to see large scale works, which is what seems to emerge from the Whitney’s American art collection.  I am not sure if American art is hard to see, considering the size of the artwork; perhaps the meaning behind is hard to find, but this not seem to be the concern of American Art, at least what is shown from the mainstream collections.
Museum entrance, 99 Gansevoort Street

Views from the terraces and outdoor staircase

Floor Eight | 1910-1940

Floor Six | 1950-1975: Chuck Close "Phil 1969"

Floor Five | 1965- Present
Floor Five: Mary Heilman "Sunset" outdoor gallery
Stair installation: Felix Gonzalez-Torres