On my way to the studio, cruising down the West Side Highway bike path, I always pass the new Whitney Museum of American Art, which opened a few weeks ago with so many parties and festivities that I began to feel sorry for the staff. If I had to describe the architectural design in terms of American painting, I’d say it’s a mash up of Charles Demuth or Elsie Drigg’s Precisionism (on view on the eighth floor) and the expressive, clunky form of Arthur Dove or Marsden Hartley.
[Image at top: A snap of the Whitney from the bike path. All the windows pictured face the river.]
Designed by Renzo Piano, the Whitney’s new home, squatting on the waterfront just below 14th Street, may have been called ungainly by NYTimes critic Michael Kimmelman, but I admire it, and I think most artists will, because the form evokes New York City’s industrial heritage. No one loves an old industrial building more than artists do. Walking into the building, the central staircase and, upstairs, the feng shui of the galleries provide continuity with the old Whitney, while the river views, the comfortable terraces, and the natural light are all welcome improvements. I hear they are planning to install a bike rack.
Image above: View of the entrance on Gansevoort Street.
The Whitney Museum of American Art, West Village, New York, NY. Open every day except Tuesday.
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