New York Celebrates The Whitney’s One-Year Anniversary in Lower Manhattan

Photos Courtesy: BFA/Zach Hilty

After leaving its longtime Upper East Side home in 2014, New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art relocated and reopened to Lower Manhattan in May of last year. Following a successful 365-day run in its new Meatpacking District home, the venerated Museum celebrated its one-year anniversary last night with a Studio Party, presented by Louis Vuitton.

The evening event honored Robert J. Hurst, who led the Whitney’s Board of Trustees throughout the Museum’s construction as the chair of the capital campaign. To commemorate Hurst, the Museum’s first floor filled with special guests—iconic photorealist Chuck Close, among them—as everyone sipped custom cocktails and enjoyed small bites.

Zen Freeman and Chelsea Leyland delivered DJ sets, as the crowd lounged in spaces designed by international furniture brand Roche Bobois and received temporary tattoos by Flatlands exhibition artists Nina Chanel Abney, Mathew Cerletty and Jamian Juliano-Villain, as well as Mirror Cells exhibition artists Liz Craft, Elizabeth Jaeger and Maggie Lee.


The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

The Whitney Museum celebrates: the 2016 Annual Art Gala and Studio Party

Eating Culture: New Restaurants for the Arts

In the past couple weeks, two popular chefs have opened their newest eateries with a little more culture then ever before. Culture being literal as the venue for celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s American Table is in Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, and the team behind the beloved M. Wells Diner has launched M. Wells Dinette, their new eatery inside MoMA PS1 in Queens.

“To me, Lincoln Center symbolizes New York City’s passion for culture and performance,” said Samuelsson. “As a lover of the arts, I am honored to showcase the diversity of the American dining scene at this iconic institution.”

Samuelsson’s new cafe is situated along the large glass windows in the concert hall’s foyer, and is helmed by executive chef Charlene Johnson-Hadley, who worked her way up from being line cook at Red Rooster in Harlem. The fare at American Table includes smoked Caesar salad, turkey meatball sandwiches, country ham biscuits, and, naturally, apple pie.

Over at PS1, chefs and owners Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis have converted an old classroom into their restaurant and offer a daily changing menu with items like escargot, rabbit terrine, and bibimbap with tuna and scallops. For those of you who were looking to try M. Wells’ infamous horsemeat tartar, according to Steve Cuozzo of The New York Post they will not be dishing it out any time soon after a PETA protest. M. Wells Dinette is open the same hours as the museum, but despite the classroom look, don’t expect it to be thronged with children as other museum cafeterias are.

With these new restaurants, almost all the hip cultural centers in New York now have the added draw of destination dining to them, mainly thanks to restaurateur Danny Meyer. His Union Hospitality Group runs The Modern at MoMA, followed by Untitled at The Whitney, and they have upped the food ante at Yankee Stadium by filling it with Shake Shack burgers, shakes, and fries. Now all we need is a true meshing of the two and have more food art.

Photo by Philip Greenberg

This Room Will Blow Your Mind

So much of New York life is spent trying to gain entry into ever smaller rooms where, one imagines, the real party’s at. [This idea was floated in Jay McInernery’s Bright Lights Big City.] The joke is, usually that tiny room is just as boring as the others. 

That is, until you visit The Whitney for the Yayoi Kusama retrospective which opens today. 

There in a small room behind the lobby about the size of a closet. Visitors wait in line to spend one minute in there. There will be a line.when you go. 

But once that door opens, infinity opens. The installation is entitled "Fireflies In The Water," it’s one of Kusama’s later works. From a mirrored ceiling hang hundreds of LED lights, reflected endlessly by the mirrored walls. Visitors stand on a gangplank extending over a shallow wall-to-wall pool of water. The experience is, to say the least, absolutely fucking mindblowing. 

The rest of the exhibit is nice. I’m a big fan of Georgia O’Keeffe’s handwriting (the two artists exchanged letters) but Kusama’s polka dots don’t hold a candle to the ecstatic immersion on the first floor. 

So go, wait, and be blown away.