Along with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art is one of the most popular and important museums in New York. Entirely dedicated to 20th-century and contemporary American art, it is located in Lower Manhattan in a beautiful modern building designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, who is known worldwide for his refined and delicate approach to building.
The Whitney Museum of American Art was founded by the American sculptor and art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930 and first opened its doors a year later. At the time, the Museum was located on West Eighth Street but then moved to the Upper East Side and finally downtown to its current building on Gansevoort Street.
The Whitney is a unique museum in many ways. It was the first one to present a comprehensive exhibition of a video artist in New York. It was in 1982, and the solo show was dedicated to the work of the Korean American artist Nam June Paik. The Whitney was also the first art museum with a focus on works by living American artists. Cindy Sherman, Glenn Ligon, Paul Thek, Jay DeFeo, and Jasper Johns are just some of the artists who had their first museum exhibitions at the Whitney.
Today, the Whitney Museum of American Art is still dedicated to exhibiting, interpreting, preserving, and collecting modern and contemporary American art. Its impressive collection features over 23,000 artworks by many renowned artists, including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, and Frank Stella. Besides, the Whitney hosts the Biennial, the country’s leading art show focused on American art, which displays talented emerging and lesser-known artists. The Whitney is a great museum, and it is definitely worth visiting once you are in New York!