Whitney Museum of American Art: A guide to the museum and art

A complete guide to the Whitney Museum of American Art: Find ticketing information and current exhibits. Plus, the best things to do nearby.

Photograph: Jerry L. Thompson
Whitney Museum

Like the Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum is set apart by its unique architecture: It’s a Marcel Breuer–designed grey granite cube with an all-seeing upper-story "eye" window. When Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a sculptor and art patron, opened the museum in 1931, she dedicated it to living American artists. Today, the Whitney Museum holds about 15,000 pieces by nearly 2,000 artists, including Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper (the museum holds his entire estate), Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keeffe and Claes Oldenburg. Still, the museum’s reputation rests mainly on its temporary shows, particularly the exhibition everyone loves to hate, the Whitney Biennial. Held in even-numbered years, the Biennial remains the most prestigious (and controversial) assessment of contemporary art in America. Untitled, the museum’s café, executes locavore tweaks on coffee-shop grub—soups, sandwiches, burgers and salads—plus all-day breakfast staples like pancakes, waffles and Stumptown coffee.

Whitney Museum venue and ticketing information

Museums

Whitney Museum of American Art

Like the Guggenheim, the Whitney is set apart by its unique architecture: It’s a Marcel Breuer–designed grey granite cube with an all-seeing upper-story ‘eye’ window. When Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a sculptor and art patron, opened the museum in 1931, she dedicated it to living American artists. Today, the Whitney holds about 15,000 pieces by nearly 2,000 artists, including Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper (the museum holds his entire estate), Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keeffe and Claes Oldenburg. Still, the museum’s reputation rests mainly on its temporary shows, particularly the exhibition everyone loves to hate, the Whitney Biennial. Held in even-numbered years, the Biennial remains the most prestigious (and controversial) assessment of contemporary art in America.

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