On May 1, the Whitney Museum of American Art will open its brand new building, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop with Cooper Robertson. Art and architecture critics alike published thoughts on the space and structure over the past few days, which we've collected below.
Michael Kimmelman: "The new museum isn't a masterpiece. But it is a deft, serious achievement, a signal contribution to downtown and the city’s changing cultural landscape. Unlike so much big-name architecture, it’s not some weirdly shaped trophy building into which all the practical stuff of a working museum must be fitted." [The New York Times]
Paul Goldberger, Hon. AIA: "The old Whitney, whatever its virtues, had a sternness, especially on the inside, that always seemed to get the better of its virtues. The new Whitney is the opposite. All its faults are on the outside, and you forget them once you get past the front door, when an exuberant, upbeat spirit takes over." [Vanity Fair]
Peter Schjeldahl: "The relocated museum makes me surprisingly hopeful for the near future of art in New York." [The New Yorker]
Justin Davidson: "That pair of dueling thought bubbles — come see how much art we have; you hardly need to look at it — is one of several loudly mixed messages that make the museum so disappointing. Marcel Breuer's old Whitney was (is) a rude, charming beast, leaning brawnily over Madison Avenue as if challenging us to call it ugly. Piano’s new Whitney is so sensitive to its location and earnest mission, so generous in its supply of views, light, and convenience, that it mistakes virtue for personality." [New York Magazine]
Jerry Saltz: "The Piano building has about 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space (plus 13,000 outside), of which 20,500 over two floors is devoted to the permanent collection. (There is even more space to claim on an adjacent lot currently occupied by a rare remaining meat-processing facility, which you get the sense the Whitney is already eyeing lustily.) There, the space is open, simple, Shaker-like; the wide-plank pine floors are perfect. This means the Whitney spent $422 million in part to do something that the other three big Manhattan museums haven’t done: make a lot more and a lot better space for older art and also make a lot more better space for newer art." [New York Magazine]
Philip Kennicott: "The experience feels like a love affair with the city, with art as its most significant epiphenomenon." [The Washington Post]