Updated: Mar 25
New York City is home to hundreds of incredible museums, and The Whitney Museum of American Art has a well-earned reputation of being one of the best. Its world-class collection of modern art and innovative architectural design make the Whitney the perfect place to spend a day exploring impressive artwork and enjoying scenic skyline views.
A Modern Art Mecca
The Whitney is widely regarded as having one of, if not the most, comprehensive collections of 20th and 21st-century American art in the world. Founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, the museum originally housed Gertrude’s personal 700-piece collection of American art. Today, the Whitney showcases over 25,000 paintings, sculptures, photos, films, artifacts, and more, with new exhibitions rotating throughout the year.
Among the artists included in the Whitney’s collection are Man Ray, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. More recent exhibitions include acclaimed New York artist Glenn Ligon, the world-renowned Marina Abramovic, and multimedia artist Carolina Caycedo.
The centerpiece of the Whitney’s exhibitions is the Whitney Biennial, the longest-running survey of American art in the world. The event features pieces sourced by the museum’s in-house curators, who visit artists around the country in search of relevant work to showcase at the event. Thousands flock to it every two years to see the latest developments and up-and-coming talent in the industry.
Designed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, the Whitney’s design is almost as celebrated as its collections. The current building, which was unveiled in 2015, includes 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space, in addition to 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition and terrace space.
Visitors can often be found relaxing on the museum’s terraces, which overlook both the Hudson River and the High Line, in addition to a large portion of the New York City skyline.
The building’s asymmetrical design is inspired by the industrial architecture of the surrounding Meatpacking District, all with a contemporary and sculptural feel that lends well to the art and sculptures in its galleries.
Live Music and Events
The Whitney maintains a longstanding commitment to the performing arts, having first featured live music in its galleries in the 1960s.
Today, Whitney Live highlights the intersection of performance and installation, allowing visitors to browse galleries while enjoying the sounds of various live acts, ranging from acoustic to jazz. The museum also features unique performance art exhibitions, many of which utilize choreography, vocal props, and more to provide social commentary.
To learn more about the Whitney Museum of American Art as well as its exhibitions and events, visit the museum’s website.