Positioned at the foot of the High Line in the Meatpacking District, the new Whitney Museum will be New York City’s newest world-class cultural destination in one of the city’s most dynamic and distinctive locations. The Whitney Museum opened to the public on May 1, 2015.
In May 2011, Mayor Bloomberg and officials broke ground on a new home for the Whitney Museum of American Art on Gansevoort Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The $720 million building and endowment campaign caps a decades-long effort by the Whitney Museum to expand, which it was unable to do given the space constraints at its previous location on Madison Avenue. The new nine-floor, 200,000-square-foot building, designed by Renzo Piano, is a world-class venue showcasing the Whitney’s collection of modern and contemporary American art. It provides state-of-the-art facilities for enhanced education and performing arts programs
The facility is built on former City-owned property at the southern entrance to the High Line and opened to the public May 1, 2015.
Renzo Piano Building Workshop designed the new building, expected to be LEED-certified, in collaboration with New York-based architects Cooper, Robertson & Partners. The building includes:
- 50,000+ square feet of indoor galleries, nearly double the Whitney's Madison Avenue gallery space
- 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space on a series of rooftops facing the High Line, to showcase more of the Whitney’s collection along with temporary exhibitions
- Education center with dedicated classroom space
- Multi-use black box theater for film, video, and other performances with adjacent outdoor gallery
- Works-on-paper study center
- Large art conservation lab
- Library/reading room
- 170-seat theater with double-height views of the Hudson River
- Public outdoor gathering space and ground-floor gallery
- Retail shop, contributing to vibrant street life of the Meatpacking District
- Ground-floor restaurant and top-floor café
Whitney and the City
The new museum project is the result of an extensive partnership between the City of New York and the Whitney Museum. The City sold the roughly 36,000-square-foot City-owned site to the Whitney, has provided a $51.9 million capital investment in the project, and, through the Office of the Mayor, the Department of Cultural Affairs and NYCEDC, has given extensive technical assistance to the Whitney throughout the project’s conception and implementation. It was approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council in 2008.
The partnership between the City and the Whitney Museum also keeps the Gansevoort Meat Market—a celebrated local business—in the neighborhood for the next 20 years. The Gansevoort Meat Market, a cooperative of independently-owned businesses under lease with the City that specialize in wholesale distribution and processing of meat for many of the region’s top restaurants and hotels, has been operating at the same site since 1974, with meat businesses existing there since the 1950s. The lease, previously set to expire in 2014, has now been extended to 2031 with new boundaries to allow for the development of the new Whitney Museum and adjacent High Line support facility, ensuring that Manhattan’s only meat cooperative continue its important role in the city’s industrial sector.
Whitney and the Meatpacking District
The Meatpacking District is a 20-square-block neighborhood on the far West Side of Manhattan, bordered by Chelsea, renowned for its art galleries, cultural organizations, and educational institutions, and historic Greenwich Village. Located 30 feet above street level on a 1930s freight railway, The High Line runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street and soon to 30th Street. The public park has helped revitalize the area around it, supporting new residences, offices, restaurants, art galleries, hotels, and shops.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is one of the preeminent institutions devoted to modern and contemporary art of the United States, with a special focus on works by living artists. The museum recently announced a multi-year agreement, in principal, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which the Met will present exhibitions and educational programming beginning in 2015 at the Whitney’s 945 Madison Avenue location, designed by Marcel Breuer.