6 Things to Expect When the New Whitney Museum Opens Next Week

If there were a decisive blow delivered in the rivalry between downtown and uptown New York, it would be the former stealing the Whitney Museum away from the latter and placing it in the heart of the Meatpacking district. When the new Whitney Museum opens on May 1, there are a few things you can expect.

1. Nothing about Renzo Piano’s new building reeks of “statement” architecture. Rather, it is a measured, industrial-elegant structure, which decisively puts the focus on the art.

2. Spread over eight floors, the new Whitney has 18,000 feet of indoor and 13,000 feet of outdoor exhibition space. The main galleries are clean-lined, well thought out and modest; views from the terrace galleries will change the way you see New York.

3. The opening exhibition, the curiously titled America Is Hard To See (we might have called it, America Is Sometimes Best Explained Through Art) is essentially a 20th Century — and tilting into the 21st — narrative onracism, war, family, and politics, culled from the Whitney’s permanent collection. It makes perfect sense as a debut show, and decisively succeeds in its storytelling.

4. Some of the highlights to look for include: David Smith‘s Cubi XXI, 1964 (pictured above), Josh Kline‘s Cost of Living, 2014, Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s Hollywood Africans, 1983, Marisol‘s Woman and Dog, 1963-64, and Jeff Koons‘s Hoover Convertibles, 1981-1987, all pictured below.

5. Look out for featured works from blockbuster artists like Man Ray, Marsden Hartley, Kara Walker, James Rosenquist, Chuck Close, Richard Serra, Ed Ruscha, Claes Oldenburg, and Joseph Stella.

6. A Downtown reboot of Danny Meyer’s Untitled restaurant, in a sleek, glass enclosed ground floor space, under the direction of Gramercy Tavern chef Michael Anthony, opens with the museum.





Celebrating Downtown’s Brand New Max Mara Whitney Bag

View of the new Whitney Museum. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Downtown’s got a brand new bag. Along with a new museum (hello, Whitney, opening in May), a new skyline (what’s up 1WTC), and a plethora of restaurants and attractions that are bound to pop up around them, we’ve got a new accessory with which to carry our essentials below 14th Street. Renzo Piano, the starchitect for the Whitney Museum, also had a hand in the Max Mara Whitney bag, an homage to the building itself.

On Wednesday evening, the chic  (Pari Ehsan, DJ Harley Viera-NewtonLauren Remington Platt, Claire Distenfeld, Genevieve Jones, Natalie JoosJohn Buffalo Mailer, Nicolas Niarchos) gathered at the Boom Boom Room atop the Standard hotel to fete the new bag — the purse and the view of the new museum both on view for revelers to enjoy.

The limited edition bag (carried by Milly Piano) comes in a light blue to reflect the color of the new Whitney building, and only 250 are available. The bag, proceeds of which go to the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, will also come in three sizes and three colors: black, tan, and bordeaux. The bag is a tribute to the Whitney building, also designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

Rachelle Hruska and Pari Ehsan. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com


Maria Giulia Maramotti and Harley Viera-Newton (wearing Max Mara) next to the “Whitney” bag designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop for Max Mara. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Renzo Piano, Milly Piano (with the “Whitney” bag), and Luigi Maramotti. Photo: Billy Farrell/BFAnyc.com

Everyone Was on Digital Drugs at the Whitney Studio Party

Yana Balan, Dustin Yellin, and Polina Proshkina. Photo: Ben Rosser/BFAnyc.com

Last night marked the final uptown event for the Whitney Museum of American Art — come May, the museum moves from the Madison Avenue Breuer building to the new Renzo Piano designed, downtown location, opening to the public on Friday, May 1, 2015.

To celebrate the museum one just one more time before the move (and raise a little cash, $4.3 million to be exact) Louis Vuitton helped the Whitney throw a gala and studio party where everyone was “hallucinating”. The art was gone off the walls, but there was a new piece, and all you needed was your phone and the right app to get in on the experience.

Being that we’re all looking at our phones constantly anyway, artist Will Pappenheimer’s Proxy, 5-WM2A made perfect sense — guests like Chuck Close, Claire Distenfeld, Kyle DeWoody, and Dustin Yellin who were looking at the museum through this new lens saw a new, augmented reality.

Check out photos from the evening, and a look at Proxy, below:

Sara Moss and Chuck Close

Hillary Rhoda

Riley Keough in Louis Vuitton

Julian Schabel and Jeff Koons

Cristen and Nigel Barker

Julie Macklowe

Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs

Claire Distenfeld

BFA_10879_1323181Marc Philippe Eskenazi and Matt Kliegman

Kara Ross

BFA_10872_1321763Cindy Sherman and Jonas Mekas

All photos courtesy of BFAnyc.com

A Jeff Koons Whitney Send-Off

Jeff Koons, Tulips, 1995–98. Oil on canvas; 111 3⁄8 × 131 in. (282.9 × 332.7cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons

The Whitney is mounting the largest Jeff Koons museum exhibition to date as a last hurrah before heading to its new digs in the Meatpacking District. The museum is leaving the Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue with a bang, or a blunder, depending how you view the controversial artist. The retrospective includes almost 150 works by 59-year-old artist spanning his career from 1978 to the present.

Long before Gaga endorsed Jeff Koons’ brand of kitsch ruminations on media culture and mass production, the artist had courted the public eye and solicited the scrutiny of critics. By exhibiting a diverse range of works, the Whitney allows the public to (re) discover the artist on his or her own terms.

Prior to the opening on June 27th, one of Koons’ over-the-top sculptures will go on view at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The piece, title “Split-Rocker,” is more than 37 feet tall and made of over 50,000 flowering plants. Like most of Koons’ recent output, it’s anything but subtle.

Jeff Koons: A Retrospective, on view at the Whitney from June 27-Oct 19, 2014.

Jkoons 2 Jeff Koons, New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Blue; New Hoover Convertibles, Green, Blue; Double-Decker, 1981–87. Vacuum cleaners, plexiglass, and fluorescent lights, 116 × 41 × 28 in. (294.6 × 104.1 × 71.1 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


jkoons 3

Jeff Koons, One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J 241 Series), 1985. Glass, steel, sodium chloride reagent, distilled water, and basketball; 64 3/4 × 30 3/4 × 13 1/4 in. (164.5 × 78.1 × 33.7 cm). B.Z. and Michael Schwartz. ©Jeff Koons.


Jkoons 4 Jeff Koons, Split-Rocker (Orange/Red), 1999. Polychromed aluminum; 13 1/2 × 14 1/2 × 13 in. (34.3 × 36.8 × 33 cm). B. Z. and Michael Schwartz. ©Jeff Koons


JKoons 5

Jeff Koons, Elephant, 2003. Mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating; 36 1⁄2 x 29 × 19 in. (92.7 × 73.7 × 48.3 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons


jkoons 6

Jeff Koons, Antiquity 3, 2009 –11. Oil on canvas; 102 × 138 in. (259.1 × 350.5 cm). Private collection; courtesy Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte. © Jeff Koons


jkoons 7

Jeff Koons, Gazing Ball (Farnese Hercules), 2013. Plaster and glass; 128 ½ x 67 × 48 5/8 in. (326.4 × 170 × 123.5 cm). Amy and Vernon Faulconer and The Rachofsky Collection. © Jeff Koons

jkoons 8 Jeff Koons, Cake, 1995–97. Oil on canvas; 125 3⁄8 x 116 3⁄8 in. (318.5 × 295.6 cm). Private collection. © Jeff Koons

jkoons 9Jeff Koons, Junkyard, 2002. Oil on canvas; 102 × 138 in. (259.1 × 350.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P. 2011.215. © Jeff Koons.


The Whitney, Downtown’s Newest Cool Kid

With their original plans of a towering uptown expansion bitterly (if unsuccesfully) opposed by Upper East Side preservationists, the Whitney Museum (most recently home to a Buckminster Fuller exhibition) instead is setting its sights downtown — specifically at Washington and Gansevoort Streets in the Meatpacking District. To raise $60 million towards the Renzo Piano-designed satellite, the museum is reportedly exploring the possibility of selling off a quintet of townhouses near 74th and 75th Streets. A museum spokesman adds that any potential revenue from the sale would not exclusively fund the off-site annex, but “will contribute toward a much larger fundraising effort that is already underway.” The site reassignment reduces the cost of expansion dramatically. The satellite, like much of the architecture in the neighborhood, will be low-rise but sprawling at about 50,000 square feet of gallery space.