Saturday, July 11, 2015

The New Whitney Museum of American Art

The New Whitney Museum of American Art opened on Gansevoort Street, just next to the High Line in the old Meatpacking District not long ago. We enjoyed visiting the previous premises last time we were in town, and joined as members to get a bit more out of the visit this time.

Members get to jump the queue, enter unlimited times for free, get 10% off at the restaurant and 20% off at the bookshop.

We've booked an early lunch at the highly-lauded Untitled restaurant so head in mid-morning for a look at the works starting with part of the America Is Hard to See exhibition and an outdoor display by Mary Heilmann called Sunset.

The new museum is in a brilliant spot, with panoramic views all around.

The main exhibition, America Is Hard To See explores themes of struggling against conventions, and has some pieces which confront racism and materialism.

Museum Guide uniforms on headless black mannequins

Repeat view

Vargas Girl parody

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons

Found art made from discarded crack vials

At 11:30am we go down the stairs to the fabulous new Untitled restaurant. We're greeted by a smiling young woman in a fashionable jacket over a flimsy skirt, and met at the table by a super-efficient waitress in stylish livery.

I have never seen so many waiters in a restaurant. There must be a dozen milling around, filling up the glasses and removing the plates as if we had the place to ourselves. The cuisine is special and elegant, and for an art gallery not too much. A bottle of red is a good start to the cuisine. Lynda goes with scallops and a chicken salad, I'm with the lobster toast and a honey-mustard sausage.

Sustained with artful food, we visit the start of the exhibition and there's some history about the founder of the Whitney Studio, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney - a serious art collector, sculptor, patron of the arts and feminist,

We review the art on display, quite different from the previous museum selection and with an edge.

There's a few Edward Hopper paintings, and this early sketch for Nighthawks,

A little footsore, we brave the storm clouds and travel to the West Village for some Indian food at a praised eatery Karahi.

Something of a disappointment - the curries are bland and creamy, perhaps for local tastes. The Indian restaurants in Perth are better by a mile. However, we have a good people-watching experience with four noisy young woman shrieking over each other and giggling about a series of embarrassments which they were unwittingly sharing with the other patrons.

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