The splendors of the Big Apple’s Whitney Museum are many. The very crème-de-la-crème of American Art is packed into the space of the doorway to delightful display-works.
It just got built in recent times. The all-new site of the Whitney Museum in the meatpacking district of New York’s Manhattan Island has an aura of power and nostalgia about it that makes you want to frequent its spaces again and again. Yet it is still strictly off-limits to most of the public. It will have its ribbon-cutting ceremony on May Day of this year.
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There is a certain stolidness to the structure of the museum. Among the highlights are large slabs of concrete, illumination features and many elevators (all the better to transport viewers back and forth between the myriad floors). But one thing is certain.
The art is simply impeccable. Unlike MOMA, the lobby is spacious and lends a vista into the inner recesses. The glass-panel studded opening and the inner sanctum is easily bathed in the morning light of the Big Apple.
The architect Renzo Piano designed the building for the Whitney Museum. He is the same man who also designed the Art Institute of Chicago. Renzo Piano said that his New Whitney Museum in New York is a symbol of American freedom.
The simplicity, lucidity and unity of the design is proof that less is more. It has a Zen-like atmosphere of peace of mind and oneness within multiplicity. The museum was situated elsewhere before its admin decided to shift it to its new locale.
The Whitney Museum was famous for accepting such works by radical artists which had been spurned by the putrid establishment. Over a decade and a half, the museum has gone mainstream and today it features over 500 masterpieces of art by talented and revolutionary creators of the imaginative wonderland that is the human mind.
Everything from sculpted pieces to performance installations all the way to lectures on the aesthetic sensibility are available under one roof at the museum. The museum has a café too. The wonder-works are thematically placed in their individual genres. And they make for pleasurable and informative viewing.
Donald Moffet’s image of a target practice shooting sign next to a picture of Ronald Wilson Reagan is an interesting commentary on that smiling, verbose and fraudulent actor-president of the 80s.
Then Barbara Kruger’s pic of a little girl tentatively touching the arm of a little boy shows the mirror to childhood exploration and hero worship. Other works include portraits of Osama and Pop Art samples by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
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Some of the modern and postmodern artworks go a little too far but then that is the purpose of all art…to disturb us and shake us out of our complacency. It is a maze of frozen music in the form of pain-tinged paintings and shapes that show the inner forms of the tormented and intelligent human fantasyland.