Whitney Adds Zing to Typical Museum Visit

By Naomi Lee ’19

Museums are an amazing way to embrace different cultures. They are fun options and serve as a relaxing break from the rapid, lively city. It’s always great to stroll through a museum with a friend, take some pictures, grab some food and receive insight from various artworks.

But, how do you choose the perfect one? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the Whitney Museum of American Art, also known as the Whitney, beautifully showcases artwork of talented artists and sculptors. The museum is located at 99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014. It is one of Manhattan’s most modern cultural locations and is definitely worth a visit.

The history of the Whitney is what makes the museum truly outstanding. In the beginning of the twentieth century, many artists found it nearly impossible to showcase their artwork. Mrs. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was empathetic to struggling artists through her love and passion for the arts. She purchased and displayed their artwork to the public. She then became a significant figure in American art history.

The Whitney significantly stands out from other museums because of its structure. The designer of the museum, Renzo Piano, wanted “to draw on its vitality and at the same time enhance its rich character.” The museum is made up of nearly all glass, one side of the building is slanted, and, overall, it is aesthetically appealing. Its structure is extraordinary compared to other buildings in the area.

The Whitney has done what other museums must onsider doing: display modern art that appeals to young adults in order to remain relevant. According to https://whitney.org/About, “The Whitney is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art, and its collection—arguably the finest holding of twentieth-century American art in the world—is the Museum’s key resource.”

The museum consists of unique exhibitions that are considered to be America’s leading survey of recent developments in art.

As soon as I entered, I was greeted by friendly workers. I looked around and was amazed to see how spacious and large the lobby was. The ceilings were high, with floor-to-ceiling windows. The whole place seemed so full of life, vibrant and bright. There is no need to worry about crowdedness at the Whitney.

Admission fees are fairly affordable. It is $25 per ticket for an adult, $18 per ticket for seniors and students, and if you’re under 18… it’s free. You can’t possibly find a reason to reject a visit to the Whitney if it’s free! To the left is the museum’s gift shop. The shop sells everything ranging from apparel, accessories, jewelry to prints and collectibles.

Coat check-in is in the basement, and it’s free as well. The museum is very visitor-friendly.

I took a large, snazzy elevator up to the highest floor, floor eight, and worked my way down (which is a great idea).

All the galleries are simple and sleek. There are multiple outstanding exhibitions throughout the museum.

The most eye-catching exhibition must be An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, from 1940-2017, on floor six. There Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson brilliantly explores how various artists approach political and social issues in history and modern day.

Kortni Cheung 18 stated, “This exhibit was a great representation of what America stands for. Artists showed the country lives up to its name, being the land of the free and the home of the brave. I loved it.”

An interesting piece by the Guerrilla Girls approached the issue of gender inequality. Guerrilla Girls, a collective of female artists, passionately fought bias in the art world during the 1980s. Their art especially emphasized the discrimination against women artists. Many museums and galleries back in the day showed work from only men, the “superior” gender.

This piece is a collection of 12 pictures, one of which states, “Question: How many works by women artists were in the Andy Warhol and Tremaine Auctions at Sotheby’s? Answer: 0.” Not only did floor six display collections of posters and photographs, there was structural art as well. 

For instance, a group of trophies that were awarded to police for the killings of criminals,  revealed the growing problem of police brutality.

Matthew Tadros 19 stated, “The Whitney Museum has to be one of my favorite museums to visit. The artwork really stands out to me, especially the women’s rights area. It is important for society to understand the discrimination that women are still unfortunately facing today.”

Not only is the Whitney filled with meaningful and expressive artwork, the sky terrace is definitely one of the main attractions. Visitors can exit through floors six, seven, and eight to experience the breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline, along with the Hudson River.

It’s also a perfect photo opportunity. Ming Zhu 19 stated, “The view was fantastic. Most of the museums I’ve visited usually don’t have an outer deck. I’m so glad the Whitney does, though. I was able to sit outside and catch up with a friend while taking in the beautiful view.”

If you’re an art enthusiast who is always on the hunt for museums to enjoy lively, rich modern and contemporary art, take a visit to the Whitney Museum!

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