Shift: Graduate Journal of Visual and Material Culture
Issue 8 | 2015
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The Whitney Museum of American Art was founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney with the primary intention of serving artists. The original space featured art studios, a school, and a recreation lounge where artists could socialize with one another. In 1966, the Whitney moved to Madison Avenue and E. 75th St., where it became neighbor to world-class art institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The Whitney’s uptown home was designed by Marcel Breuer and has often been compared to a fortress, because of its domineering concrete exterior and its placement among the crowded high-rises of the Upper East Side. After five years of construction downtown, the museum has finally moved into its new space on Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District, where it sits at the intersection of New York’s blue-chip art galleries and the high-fashion district which has recently descended on the cobblestoned area once defined by the Hudson River’s port factories. The “New Whitney” opened to the public on May 1, 2015, with a debut rehang of its permanent collection that occupies four floors and is entitled “America is Hard to See” (May 1—September 27, 2015).