Met Plans to Occupy the Whitney’s Uptown Site

A plan calls for the Metropolitan Museum to showcase its modern holdings at the site for at least eight years.

Comments: 30

  1. The Meatpacking district ceased being "arty" or "edgy" during the Giuliani years. The place has since been relegated to the hordes of daytripping Jersey Shore types who go there to drink, fist pump and window shop. Hardly a crowd which will support a major art institution. They will walk right by the place without a second glance and the established Whitney museum goer will likely be siphoned off by more serious fare uptown.

  2. What a great idea for the Met to get some of the fantastic work they have in storage out in the publics view.
    This is a wonderful balance to the Metropolitan's classic location that we all love so well.
    With the limitation of size placed on it by the Parks Dept this is a practical way for the Met to grow new space.
    A win-win for sure!

  3. Having first lived in NY one block away from the Whitney, I as saddened to hear it was planning to move downtown and in effect abandon the Breuer building. While I still regret the loss of a Whitney uptown, this serves the community well. The never-satisfactory plans to enlarge the Whitney can be forgotten, at least for decades to come, preserving this monument to modern architecture, despite the contrary opinion of some. It will also serve well display of the Met's modern and contemporary art. The Breuer building has some wonderful spaces for display of modern art as well as more intimate spaces for mounting historical perspective exhibits as the report proposes.

    A win/win arrangement in my opinion.

  4. I dunno. I like things just the way they are.

  5. What an inspired idea! The Met gets some necessary space to show off its modern holdings in a unique, modernist building and won't have to encroach on Central Park; the Breuer building will continue to be used for the purpose for which it was designed. A perfect solution for the Whitney - although why it feels it has to move downtown is beyond me - and the Met. Congratulations to all.

  6. Elegantly done. Bravi.

  7. Great Idea!!!

  8. Whitney raises white flag of surrender. Too bad, but then it's been adrift for decades.

  9. What the heck?

    First MoMA takes the Museum of Folk Art, and now the Met takes the Whitney...all in the same day?

    Who is next?

  10. It will be wonderful to see some of the Met's packed-away treasures, and the Breuer building, a modernist masterpiece, will get new life. As for the Whitney, the Meatpacking District, etc., New York will rue having destroyed this important industrial area for the sake of...what, exactly? You can't cater only the rich all the time, as the city's shaky economy continues to show.

  11. This is a wonderful solution for both institutions' challenges. I'll be curious to see how ticketing is handled by the Met and whether visitors will in fact walk the few blocks to see the contemporary art. The only downside is that it will take some of the contemporary art out of the context of a great encyclopedic museum -- at least temporarily. One of the great pleasures of the Met is discovering something you weren't expecting to find. Go for a photography exhibition and you may discover an amazing African mask. Whereas the Breuer building will be a destination unto itself. But then again, it's better than being in storage and it allows a great building to be used as it was designed.

  12. Sorry for the nostalgia, but for 10 years I lived two blocks from the Whitney and just a few more from the Met, where my daughter took toddler art classes (and played hide and seek among the statues). It's great that the Met will use the Whitney space for contemporary art. Lots of Rothko, please.
    And please keep the ice cream cake on the menu for little art lovers.

  13. The Whitney has always been my favorite NY museum; I don't think it will have the same cache downtown. The Whitney has always had a knack for combining artwork with the aesthetics of the Breuer building - much more in synch in that way than many other museums in the city. I will be sorry to see it go even while I look forward to seeing more of the Met's modern work - wish there was another solution. Sounds like the commitment to keep the Whitney open at it's current location just isn't there.

  14. I'm a bit sad to hear of this transition. The Breuer building is one of the most forward thinking buildings in New York. It carries a wiff of the immediate even today. I still think it's the perfect locale for the spectacular biennial.

    I suppose the New Museum is its logical successor. But I feel that this a sad step for a museum that was always remarkably current.

  15. Thank goodness the Breuer will not be a retail space and will be retained as a monument to modern art. Great for the Met. Not sure about the Whitney downtown (even though it's Renzo Piano's work)but perhaps some day in the future, the Whitney will be a "two-site museum" in spite of their financial woes.

  16. This is a brilliant solution for the preservation of the Breuer Building.
    The Whitney moving to the Meat Packing district may turn out to be an inspired idea since it may even make a "culturny" bunch of the Jersey shore denizens the first opiner dises so. Just imagine the Jersey tax payers turning into the "Brooklyn intelligentia" on the strength of the Whitney, it will be a win win situation.

  17. Brilliant!!! The Met is the perfect fit. Too bad the Breuer building can't be moved to Central Park!

  18. This is great news for both institutions and we, the community!

  19. Is the dawn of museum monopolies?

  20. Too bad they are joining the overcrowded downtown scene. The Whitney does not need to move. They need a vision.

  21. The Met is too damn big as it is. When I was a kid, I used to go there to seek quiet refuge among beautiful objects from the fraught world of the city; today, it is even more crowded and noisy and busy than the streets and I only go there when there's a visiting show of supreme interest (not often) or I have visitors from out of town -- and I try to herd them through as quickly as I can, after viewing some highlights. There is no point in ambling about the building to discover the unknown -- there's too damn much of everything. They should cut the collection in half and ship the other half someplace like Portland or Seattle that hasn't got any decent art.

    Really: It's as bad as the Louvre or the Vatican and worse than the Prado.

  22. I have always been uneasy about the contemporary art at the Met. The lasting value of much of this work, such as the infamous shark, is questionable. The limited gallery space could be put to better use.

    The Met has whole period rooms in storage with no place to erect them not to mention numerous other objects. Unfortunately, the museum is bound by an agreement with the city not to further expand despite an original right to all the land between the transverse roads and Park Drive. The museum has been heroic in its "building from within" projects to reclaim existing space, but offsite expansion had to come.

    Now if we could only get the Natural History Museum to take over City Hall...

  23. I would like to see The Met expand its current footprint. In the meantime, this is a good temporary solution.

  24. The Breuer has been an eyesore for years in this otherwise beautiful part of the Upper East Side. Had better minds prevailed - and had someone noted that the emperor was missing his clothes - a kind developer would have put the Breuer of its - and our - misery. Let's not make a similar mistake again.

  25. I agree the building is an eyesore I wish someone will tear it down and will rise an affordable housing highrise for people with median incomes.

  26. That's great, the Whitney is a wonderful building to show art in.
    You don't even notice the walls or anything else, just the art.
    Breuer did a wonderful job and I'm glad it will continue to be an art museum.

  27. Putting aside aesthetics for a moment, does anyone know if the City is picking up the tab for this expansion of the MET in terms of its operating costs? Before anyone celebrates, or mourns, some facts about what this will cost the NYC taxpayer would be useful. $3 million in additional costs may sound like a small amount, but keep in mind that the proposed city budget for next year for cultural groups recommends a one third cut from the funding provided at the beginning of the current fiscal year. The money allocated to the MET ($22 million) in that proposed expense budget are about 20% of the total cultural funding so adding to that cost is not something many in the cultural sector would welcome. More details, please.

  28. The City does not contribute all that much to the Met: 6% of the fiscal 2010 operating budget for guardianship and another 6% for utilities. This is to be compared with 15% for admissions and 11% for membership income. The Met ran a $3.7 million operating surplus in this period. If the Met had to rely on admissions alone for income, it would have to charge about $47 per visitor.

  29. This is a win-win for the Met, the Whitney, and art lovers throughout the city.

    Not sure why the first commenter can't see the obvious about the Whitney's new home (and why so many seem to agree). It connects to the thriving Chelsea art gallery district via the extremely awesome High Line. You avoid the throngs in the Meatpacking District by walking above them. It doesn't get much better than that.

  30. The Whitney is simply returning down to the Village - remember, it's first incarnation was 8th Street.

    It makes cultural and city planning sense for the Whitney to relocated to the base of the High Line in the MPD. It is a reinvented neighborhood, born in the blood, guts and entrails of American enterprise most literally like a George Bellows painting. That the dead meat lived cheek by jowl with the Reginald Marsh trans hookers of the former Florents through generations and epochs of labor struggles and culture clashes makes the location all the more poignant.

    That is has all become merchandise and museum store fare, 'sanitized for our protection,' as Bill Maher puts it, well there's a post-modern punctuation added by that as well. Juliana Force and Gertrude Whitney would likely applaud this return downtown.

    People with their digital cameras and perpetual Facebook Fan tourist mentality dumbed down the museum experience going on two decades ago. I really can't get worked up over this latest incarnation making things any dumber, and it can make the cultural density of the Chelsea art scene a little richer and more anchored. On balance, likely a strong move.