Whitney to Build Museum on the High Line

Monday, October 12, 2009

The High Line The High Line (Ed Yourdon/flickr)

Three years after it first expressed interest, the Whitney Museum of American Art will finally move forward with building a museum on Manhattan's West Side.

"We simply don’t have enough space to show our holdings," Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s director, told The New York Times. "And since at least 60 percent of the art we acquire comes through gifts, it becomes more difficult to ask people to donate works if we cannot show them.”

The Whitney reached an agreement with the city to build on the High Line three years ago, but it was not until last month that it signed a contract with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to purchase the site for $18 million from the city.

At six floors, the second Whitney will be more than twice the size of its current Madison Avenue building. Italian architect Renzo Piano will design the new museum, which will sit at Washington and Gansevoort Streets, at the south end of the High Line on Manhattan's West Side. The High Line is a public park recently built on an abandoned elevated train track running from Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

This is not the first time an art institution has considered building on the High Line. The Dia Art Foundation had planned to build in 2005, but decided not to after its then executive director, Michael Govan, resigned.

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