Whitney Hikes Entry Fees, Sells Advance Tickets to New Home

Renzo Piano's Whitney Museum, viewed from Gansevoort Street.
Photo Karin Jobst.

Advance tickets went on sale Friday for the soon-to-reopen Whitney Museum of American Art (see The Whitney’s New Meatpacking Home Opens May 1), and visitors should prepare for some sticker shock. Ticket prices are now pegged at $22, up from $20 at the now-shuttered Breuer Building.

The Whitney closed its doors on the Upper East Side in October, after a blockbuster Jeff Koons retrospective (see Critical Reduction: Jeff Koons at the Whitney). Its new location at the base of the High Line at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, in a building designed by Renzo Piano, will provide the Whitney almost double the exhibition space.

The New York Times reports that museum officials are anticipating that the operating budget will increase from $33 million a year to $49 million a year once the new space opens its doors. While the institution expects a jump in attendance numbers, boosted by the High Line’s 6 million annual visitors, and an influx of museum members, the $2 increase in general admission will play an important part in bridging that gap (see Have New York Museums Hit Their Peak?)

New Yorkers should count their blessings: there was some talk of $25 admission, to match the ticket prices at other New York Institutions such as the Guggenheim and Museum of Modern Art. “We’ve been closed for six months and we want to be as open and as generous as we possibly can,” director Adam D. Weinberg told the Times of the museum’s decision to keep the increase in cost to a minimum. (The Whitney last raised its prices in 2013, from $18 to $20.)

The highly anticipated opening will likely mean huge crowds and long lines at the museum, which is encouraging visitors to buy advance tickets online, or pony up for a membership.

While a trip to the new Whitney will cost a little more, the museum is offering longer hours, and will be open six days a week instead of five. For the inaugural exhibition, “America Is Hard to See” (see Whitney Museum’s Inaugural Show in New Home Spans John Sloan to Yayoi Kusama and Jeff Koons), the museum will stay open until 10 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights through September 27. (Friday nights will be pay-what-you-wish from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.)

Of course, not everyone is affected by the museum’s heftier admission fees: the new building’s construction workers are being treated to a year’s worth of free admission (see Whitney Gives Construction Workers Free Admission for a Year). There’s also the Whitney’s Macy’s-sponsored block party on May 2, which promises free entrance for those willing to brave the crowds.

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