Art With a View

The Whitney Biennial’s contemporary artists take advantage of the museum’s new design and waterfront location.

Photo by Will Ragozzino

The soaring spaces of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building are the perfect setting for an incredible, wide-ranging survey of contemporary art: the 2017 Whitney Biennial. The exhibition, which takes place every two years, was postponed from 2016 to give curators time to adapt to the new Renzo Piano–designed building in the Meatpacking District. From our perspective, it was well worth the wait. Many of the artists took advantage of the airy space and gorgeous West-facing windows, which look out on the Hudson River. Artist Samara Golden’s The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, for example, is a series of dioramas that evoke social inequality: a pristine penthouse, a middle-class apartment, and a grimy hospital. Mirrors help the rooms multiply in an overwhelming way, while the view of the river adds a calming central element. Raúl de Nieves also used the giant windows to create a large-scale stained-glass–inspired backdrop for his meticulously beaded sculptures. The changing light through the windows makes for an ever-shifting piece of color-soaked art.

Why You Should Go: The Whitney Biennial, which takes up two full floors of the museum, is a one-stop shop for discovering the contemporary artists who will be talked about for years to come. Don’t miss the family opening on March 25, including kids’ tours and a huge collaborative art-making project in which children and parents can get their hands dirty (our expert planners have developed an entire family-fun day around the event). And on April 18 and 19, artist Susan Cianciolo transforms Untitled, the museum’s first-floor restaurant, into a communal Japanese tearoom—”an immersive event for the senses,” complete with a revamped menu and decor, music, and performances.

Photo by Matthew Carasella
Photo by Matthew Carasella

The Whitney Biennial
Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street (between Tenth Avenue and Washington Street)
Through June 11
Family opening: March 25, 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m.
Adults: $22; seniors and students: $17; 18 and under: Free

Treat yourself to a morning pastry and late-afternoon shopping spree before and after: