Can you believe there is not one museum in all of New York City?
Ok so that’s obviously a lie – it’s just that it’s hard to craft an original sentence when starting a blog post about a museum in NYC. I’ve been staring at a blank page all morning trying to think of something clever to say and well, I came up empty. Therefore, I’m going to skip the part of the story about how New York is an international hub for art and culture and how a trip to one of the major museums is a must do for any visitor.
I’m certainly not going to tell you that the city boasts some of the finest collections of art dating from pre-historic times all the way up to works as recent as July and that the art scene is constantly changing and evolving so fast that if you blink, you might just miss the world’s best exhibits.
No, I’m not going to bore you with any of that. What I am going to tell you is that if there is one museum you must visit before mid-October, it’s the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Why The Whitney?
If you’re tired of viewing artwork from long dead guys like the ancient Romans (who really just copied art from the even deader Greeks), the impressionists or the unintentional works of art like fossils made from extinct dinosaurs, then this is the place for you.
Initially birthed in the early 1900’s out of one woman’s collection and desire to showcase innovative and virtually unknown American artists, The Whitney went on to become the first museum devoted to exhibiting the works of living artists and it still remains the leading institution for modern American art.
The museum has been housed in the same iconic building on the Upper East Side since the 1960’s. Much like the art it displays, the building itself is a bold representation of innovation and modernism that truly stands alone in its very classic and traditional neighborhood. It has become a popular and recognizable New York City landmark, but sadly, the legendary building will be closing down come mid-October.
Ok ok sorry! I couldn’t help but throw in a pause for some dramatic flair (blame it on all those middle school drama classes). Yes it is true that The Whitney will no longer be in the Breuer Building (still a bit sad) but it is not gone for good. It’s simply moving into a striking new facility located in the Meatpacking District and will reopen in the spring of 2015.
The Closing Exhibit
Proving once again that The Whitney is a ground-breaker when it comes to modern American art, the museum decided to go out with a bang (more like the brightly-colored confetti type than the gun powder type – you’ll see why later) by choosing to use almost the entirety of their exhibit space to cover the 35 year career of artist Jeff Koons for their last exhibit.
Those familiar with the art world no doubt know exactly who he is. Those not so familiar with the art world probably still recognize the name as he made headlines recently when Las Vegas casino magnate, Steve Wynn purchased his sculpture of ‘Popeye’ for $28m. The year before that he also sold a ‘Balloon Dog (Orange)’ piece for $58.4m, which is the most expensive work of art ever sold by a living artist at an auction.
Whether you are a fan of his or not (trust me the critics are very divided on the issue of whether this is actual ‘art’) it is unarguable that Koons is one of the most influential and renowned artists of our time and this exhibit is not to be missed.
Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
As this piece of prose is centered around an art exhibit, I felt it apropos to tell you about my visit in photos and captions…..
Want some more NYC ideas? Check this post on 150 Things Locals Do In New York City.
Will you be going to The Whitney before she closes? What are some of your favorite exhibits? Tell me below!