Michelle Obama officially opens the Whitney Museum of American Art

Sunday, May 3, 2015
Michelle Obama officially opens the Whitney Museum of American Art

First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama joined with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to officially open the new Whitney Museum of American Art, now housed in a 220,000-square-foot building set beside the Hudson River at the foot of the High Line elevated park in the Meatpacking District.

Michelle Obama officially opens the Whitney Museum of American Art

First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama joined with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to officially open the new Whitney Museum of American Art, now housed in a 220,000-square-foot building set beside the Hudson River at the foot of the High Line elevated park in the Meatpacking District.

First Lady Michelle Obama said, “I fell in love with the building. It is an amazing space...One visit, one performance, one touch, and who knows how you could spark a child’s imagination....Maybe you can discover the next Carmen Herrera, or Archibald Motley, or Edward Hopper, or maybe even the next Barack Obama. That is the power of institutions like the Whitney. They open their doors as wide as possible both to the artists they embrace and to the young people they seek to uplift. That’s what happens. And today I am so proud to be here as we open these doors...I truly cannot wait to see the impact this extraordinary museum will have in the years ahead.” 

The new building returns the Museum to the downtown area where it was founded in 1930. With indoor and outdoor spaces that offer panoramic views east across the city, west across the Hudson River, and south toward the Statue of Liberty, the building doubles the Museum’s previous gallery space, enabling the Whitney for the first time to present exhibitions and programs in the context of the world’s foremost collection of modern and contemporary American art. 

The Museum’s director, Adam D. Weinberg, stated, “The Whitney has always believed in the importance of the present—the capacity for artists to act in and effect the life of our times, to alter perceptions in such ways that might enable one to change the course of history...We are here for those artists as they are here for us. Our new home was designed for and is now re-consecrated in this belief. This is our gift to our city, our nation, and the world as it was Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s in her time.”

Architect Renzo Piano said, “I love making buildings. I especially love making buildings for public use. Public buildings are the essence of cities because they are places where people share values. They stay together and enjoy the city. Especially among public buildings I love to make buildings for art and beauty. The reason is very simple—because art and beauty make people better people...I’m pretty sure that beauty will save the world. It will save one person at a time. It will do it.” 

Our interview "There will definitely be hidden treasures..." with Elisabeth Sherman, a Senior Curatorial Assistant at The Whitney Museum of American Art about the museum’s collection, new building, inaugural exhibition and about Elisabeth Sherman’s favourite artworks is here.

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Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995.  Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995. Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

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