Friday, June 18th, 2010
In his New York Times piece today, Nicolai Ouroussoff provides an insightful, if somewhat critical overview of the Whitney’s proposed design for its new location in New York’s meatpacking district. The article comes weeks after the museum’s board officially announced plans to break ground next year on their future downtown home, with completion targeted for 2015. With construction prices at a long-time low and its endowment hit hard by the economic downturn, the museum has given architect Renzo Piano the task of trimming costs and meeting crucial building deadlines, before prices rise back to pre-recession levels.
While acknowledging the necessity to do so, Ouroussoff skeptically questions what the final result of such cutbacks in both dollars and time will be. Noting that few institutions’ identities are as closely linked to their physical structures as the Whitney’s is to its original Marcel Breuer building, Ouroussoff challenges the museum and its architect to succeed at making sure the new location “rise at least to the same level as the original building as a place to view art,” warning “Anything less will not only be a shame for the city, but a defining emblem of failure for the Whitney.”