Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, announced today that the Whitney has received a $1.5 million grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the installation of works from the Museum’s renowned permanent collection in its new building downtown. The Museum’s new building, designed by Renzo Piano and currently under construction in the Meatpacking district, is projected to open in 2015.
“This exceptionally magnanimous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation is a tremendous vote of confidence. It will help propel us forward as we prepare for the Whitney’s future,” said Mr. Weinberg. “We are deeply grateful to the Foundation, and in particular to its President Michael Gilligan and Program Director Ellen Holtzman, for recognizing the importance of our goal to exhibit more works from our collection. The new building, located at the southern end of the High Line, will enable us to increase the size and scope of all our exhibitions and programming and in particular will fulfill our dream of showing a far more comprehensive view of the Whitney’s unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art. The Foundation’s support of this essential institutional effort is enormously encouraging. Our collection is the cornerstone of the Whitney and the new building will have three times more gallery space than we currently have for exhibiting it.” The Whitney’s permanent collection has grown from 2,000 works in 1966, at the time of the opening of the current Museum building on Madison Avenue, to more than 19,000 works today.
Michael Gilligan, President of the Henry Luce Foundation, commented: “The Luce Foundation recognizes the Whitney Museum’s outstanding permanent collection and the exciting opportunity to exhibit it in the new building. Our grant has been specially designated to mark the Foundation’s 75th
anniversary, saluting the Whitney’s steadfast commitment to increasing access to the richness of American art.” In addition to this grant, the Luce Foundation’s American art program has provided initial support for the Whitney’s Collections Documentation Initiative, a major research project designed to improve documentation of the collection in anticipation of showing it in the new downtown building. The Luce Foundation also has been a major supporter of many Whitney exhibitions, including most recently Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World and Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe.
About the Foundation
The Henry Luce Foundation’s American art program supports exhibitions, catalogues, doctoral dissertations, and other research projects that advance the study of American art. The Foundation has distributed more than $140 million to museums, universities, and service organizations across the U.S. since the program’s inception in 1982.
Across all its programs, the Luce Foundation seeks to advance knowledge, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, art, policy, and religious communities. The Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China.
About the Whitney
The Whitney Museum of American Art is the world’s leading museum of twentieth-century and contemporary art of the United States. Focusing particularly on works by living artists, the Whitney is celebrated for presenting important exhibitions and for its renowned collection, which comprises over 19,000 works by more than 2,900 artists. With a history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking intense debate, the Whitney Biennial, the Museum’s signature exhibition, has become the most important survey of the state of contemporary art in the United States. In addition to its landmark exhibitions, the Museum is known internationally for events and educational programs of exceptional significance and as a center for research, scholarship, and conservation. Founded by sculptor and arts patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930, the Whitney was first housed on West 8th Street in Greenwich Village. The Museum relocated in 1954 to West 54th Street and, in 1966, inaugurated its present home, designed by Marcel Breuer, at 945 Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side. While its vibrant program of exhibitions and events continues uptown, the Whitney is moving forward with a new building project, designed by Renzo Piano, in downtown Manhattan. Located at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets in the Meatpacking District, at the southern entrance to the High Line, the new building, which has generated immense momentum and support, will enable the Whitney to vastly increase the size and scope of its exhibition and programming space. Ground was broken on the new building in May 2011, and it is projected to open to the public in 2015.