The Whitney (as it’s locally known) was established in 1931 by sculptor and arts patron Getrude Vanderbilt Whitney when the Metropolitan Museum of Art rejected her personal collection of 600 avant-garde works of art. The museum houses over 19,000 unique, modern and sometimes controversial works from the 20th and 21st centuries, many by still-living artists.
Especially renowned for its Whitney Biennial exhibition, which highlights the work of young and emerging artists, the museum is devoted to connecting under-the-radar artists with New York’s wealthiest and most influential art collectors. Held every two years in the spring, the Biennial often features huge sculpture displays that are mounted in nearby Central Park.
At present, architect Renzo Piano has created a new home for the Whitney, on Gansevoort Street in the Lower West Side’s Meatpacking District. This new version of the museum, which has just recently opened, also marks the entrance to the High Line, a mile-long elevated greenway that repurposes an old stretch of the New York Central Railroad.