Founded in 1930, the Whitney Museum of American Art has a unique mission as it specializes in American artwork from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and is the first museum to focus on living American artists. The Whitney prides itself on showcasing artists that are not yet well-known and keeps much of the collection current by purchasing artwork in the year it was made. This mission has been present from the beginnings of the museum as founder and sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney aimed to help new artists by exhibiting their work. Her efforts inform the direction of the museum today.
The museum has a diverse collection of art in a variety of media including paintings, films, photography and more. Some movements reflected in these works include Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, Minimalism, and Post-Minimalism. One very important exhibit is the Whitney Biennial, the longest-running survey of American art. The founder started this tradition in 1932, and to date over 3,600 artists’ works have been featured.
Since its founding, the Whitney has moved homes a few times. It is now located in the Meatpacking District between the Hudson River and the beginning of the High Line. The Whitney’s current building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, is a work of art all its own, including indoor and outdoor exhibition space as well as terraces with views of the High Line. The unique design has allowed the museum to display more of its collection, which includes over 25,000 works.
Events at the Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney offers many events and educational programs for all ages, including tours, performances, courses, workshops, and more. The Whitney is proud to say that in-person group tours and visits have started up again! There are also still online programs for kids and adults including Open Studio From Home, After School Art Club, and Art History from Home to encourage, engage, and educate via Zoom. These offerings are free of charge with registration. For more information and updates on events, click here.
Hours and Ticket Information
Due to limited capacity, visitors are required to purchase tickets to the Whitney Museum of American Art in advance.
The Whitney is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and closed on Tuesdays
Those 18 and under can enjoy the museum free of charge. Tickets for adults are $25 and tickets for Seniors, students, and visitors with disabilities are $18. On Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. until 6 p.m., admission is Pay What You Wish.
“No museum showcases American art like the Whitney. Since World War II ended, New York City has been the centre of contemporary art, and the Whitney has been an avid collector. Often they will buy an art work from the creator before it is even finished. The Whitney is sometimes shocking, sometimes amazing but always entertaining.”
—Jeffry B., Trip Advisor
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