Look Inside the New Whitney Museum and Opening Preview

Whitney Week has officially begun.

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Mary Heilman, Rick Liss
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Renzo Piano
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Adam Weinberg
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Thelma Golden, Donna De Salvo, Barbara Haskell
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Adam Weinberg, Helen Marden, Brice Marden, Brooke Garber Neidich, Emilia Rossato
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Flora Biddle, Bill Cunningham.
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Laurie Tisch
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Francesca Amfitheatrof, Giulia Maramotti
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Richard Armstrong, Dorothy Waxter
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Mark di Suvero, Kate Levin
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Carol Vogel
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Chuck Close, Noosh
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Max Anderson, Jacqueline Anderson
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Scott Rothkopf, Fiona Donovan, Mark Donovan
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Seton Smith, Kiki Smith, Scott Rothkopf, Brice Marden
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Jane Holzer, Brooke Garber
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Barbara Gladstone, Carroll Dunham
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Jessica Smith, Cindy Sherman
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Cindy Sherman, Beth Rudin DeWoody
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Amy Phelan, John Phelan
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Jill Bikoff, J. Darius Bikoff
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Fairfax Dorn, Marc Glimcher, Anne-Cecile Speyer
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
John Currin, Rachel Feinstein
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Lisa Dennison
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Amy Phelan, Thelma Golden, Helen Marden
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Michael Bloomberg
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Rufus Wainwright
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Chrissie Iles, Jörn Weisbrodt, Rufus Wainwright, Linda Yablonsky
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
George Condo, Rachel Feinstein, Josephine Meckseper, John Currin
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Linda Yablonsky, Jörn Weisbrodt, Rufus Wainwright, Cindy Sherman
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Kiki Smith, Claudia Gould
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Charlie Rose, Amanda Burden
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
Inside the Whitney Museum.
Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan
The Whitney Museum Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan

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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