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Look Inside the New Whitney Museum and Opening Preview
Whitney Week has officially begun.
Last night, the Whitney Museum hosted the first of several VIP previews in its new home at 99 Gansevoort Street in the heart of the Meatpacking District. The younger set that populated the going away fete last year at the Breuer building (see A Whitney-Themed Hallucination in the Breuer Building) will have to wait until later this week to catch a glimpse inside the Renzo Piano building, because this was an evening for the major donors, top-level executives, big name gallerists, and of course, the collection artists. It turns out, a free lifetime membership isn’t all the museum gives you when they acquire your work (see 10 Fun Facts About the Whitney Museum)—there’s also that coveted invite to be one of the first people to see your work displayed in its airy new home.
With sprawling views of the city from the eighth floor balcony and enormous exhibition spaces tailor made for installations and large-scale sculptures, the consensus of the evening seemed to be that despite the Breuer building’s iconic status, this is a vast improvement (see Does the New Whitney Museum Herald a Golden Age for New York Institutions). It’s also a welcome opportunity for the museum to boast about their collection, which has some of the best examples of Basquiat, Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Mark di Suvero, and Nam June Paik, to name just a few.
Works that were once displayed under the low ceilings and cramped spaces of the old museum take on new life in this comparably vast setting, and while many of the guests chose to spend their time at the eighth floor bar getting their pictures snapped by Bill Cunningham, we have a feeling they (along with everyone else in New York) will eventually be returning to the galleries to spend some quality time with their favorite American artists (see Whitney Hikes Entry Fees, Sells Advance Tickets to New Home). It’s a show that could easily consume an afternoon.
Guests were later treated to a candlelit dinner inside the glass-enclosed first floor entryway and a surprise performance by Rufus Wainwright (who we later spotted rubbing elbows with Cindy Sherman and Linda Yablonsky). By the end of the night, no one wanted to leave—the notion of secretly pulling a “Night at the Museum” was even briefly considered. But luckily, after May 1, we can all come back as often as we like and visit our friends on the walls.
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