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“More than half the museum is closed”

Whitney Museum of American Art
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$22.00*
and up
Whitney Museum of American Art Admission
Ranked #15 of 267 Museums in New York City
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Mrs. Whitney, an early and ardent supporter of modern American art, nurtured groundbreaking artists at a time when audiences were still largely preoccupied with the Old Masters. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for more than eighty years. The core of the Whitney's mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
63 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“More than half the museum is closed”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2012

Since it was a "Museums on Us" weekend (first weekend of the month where admission is waived with a Bank of America credit card at participating museums), I decided to go the Whitney since it was on the list and I hadn't been there for awhile. I had gone to the Met the day before and was still in an artful mood. I even planned to skip another event so I could have plenty of time for my visit at the Whitney.

I was given a map with 3 of the 6 floors crossed off due to renovations or preparations for changing exhibitions. 2 of the remaining floors were temporary exhibits. One entire floor was works by Richard Artschwager known for his "blp" which to me resembles a caterpillar. However this exhibit was at least interesting enough for me to not rate the Whitney as terrible. Another entire floor was devoted to Wade Guyton OS. Before proceeding, I asked at the admission desk what OS stands for, I was given an "Are you stupid look?" but then was told the answer. I was also told it was a magnificent collection. I guess we have very different opinions of a magnificent collection because I did not find it at all compelling.

There were at least 2 security guards in every room and picture taken is strictly prohibited. I saw a guard go up to a guy text messaging on his phone accusing him of taking a picture and a loud argument ensued as the visitor tried to show he was not taking a picture but using his phone for something else. As he was waving his cell phone about I happened to be close enough to see the text on the screen but I stayed out of it.

Upon exiting the elevator on the lower level, I was confronted with a handful of the only available works from the permanent collection on display. I then went over to the restaurant named UNTITLED on the same level to check out the menu but by 4pm it had already put up signs that it had stopped serving. This was obviously not one of the Whitney's finer days but it was the day I went so this is the critique it gets.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Nancy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitney_Staff, Manager at Whitney Museum of American Art, responded to this review, November 7, 2012
Hi Nancy,

Thanks for your feedback. I’ll be sure to pass along your comments.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Fairbanks, Alaska
Level Contributor
20 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Disappointed”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2012

I visited the museum in mid-September, when the Kusama retrospective and Fireflies on the Water were on exhibit. Unfortunately, several other galleries in the museum were closed. I believe we were told this was to accomodate an upcoming move or transfer of collections, but there was no reduction in admission fees even though a good portion of the museum was off-limits. Although the Kusama retrospective was worthwhile, the Fireflies timed passes were all gone when we arrived, so the end result from a purchasing standpoint was to feel rather over-charged for the experiences on offer.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Tlevaksilver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitney_Staff, Manager at Whitney Museum of American Art, responded to this review, October 22, 2012
Hi there,

Thanks for your feedback. I’ll be sure to pass along your comments.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crewe, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Shambolic!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 1, 2012

So you've travelled over 3000 miles to see Hopper at the Whitney. You visit and there is a long queue so you go away and come back another day to find ...another long queue. You decide to join it. After a wait of some time where the queue did not appear to move at all, someone waves a piece of paper at you. It informs you about an exhibition that you are not remotely interested in seeing. You explain to the person waving the paper that you do not want to see the exhibition, just the permanent collection. In the small print on the paper it explains that much of the permanent exhibition is closed (I couldn't see anything large at the front of the Museum stating this). You then suggest that as you only want to see what is left of the permanent collection, there should be no need to queue. The clear logic of this fails to impress the representative. You try to wave your expensive New York pass (which you had picked up four days earlier and says of the Whitney: 'the finest such collection in the world, include works by Hopper ... are always on view...) which has enabled you to skip queues at all other establishments but not at the Whitney. Eventually, after much fuss, you are allowed in to what is left of the permanent collection. After 15 minutes, where you are the only people in the gallery, you're finished, and without the fuss you would have had to queue for much longer than this. Poor communication and information, poor organisation, poor value for money.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank meddleman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitney_Staff, Manager at Whitney Museum of American Art, responded to this review, October 18, 2012
Hello,

Thanks for your feedback. I’ll be sure to pass along your comments.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerpen
Level Contributor
82 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“A disappointment for out of town visitors”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 17, 2012

We went there early September to see the art which is advertised in all major tour guides. Obviously we should have studied the website. The museum had been COMPLETELY emptied of its permanent collections to create space for exhibitions, maybe not a problem for a New York-er but certainly for a European visitor .
Of the three exhibitions only the one of Yayoi Kusama was interesting, I did not like, but I understand. The two other ones ie Sharon Hayes and a thematic one (Signs and Symbols) were mediocre.
We wasted 32$'s.
In addition opening hours are restrictive ie 36 hours per week, almost the French 35 hour week. We could also not see Fireflies on the Water by Kusama, sold out at 12 o'clock.
SKIP and go to Documenta in Kassel or to the Venice bi-annual.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Jos V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitney_Staff, Manager at Whitney Museum of American Art, responded to this review, October 18, 2012
Hi there,

Thanks for your feedback.

Unfortunately, we don't have control over listings in tour guide publications, but due to building renovations, the fifth-floor permanent collection galleries are closed until late 2012. Therefore, not all of the Whitney’s iconic works are on view at this time.

The restrictions for Fireflies on the Water (one person at a time, for one minute) were per the artist’s wishes. With the one-minute time limit, we can only accommodate a maximum of sixty people per hour, and entry tickets tend to sell out quickly.

I’ll be sure to pass along your comments.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great Exhibit But Disappointing Gift Shop”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2012

We visited to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibit which was wonderful in every way. Unfortunately we were unable to view the Fireflies on the Water portion as it was already sold out during our visit. But we very much enjoyed what we did view. The gift shop was less than average in comparison to other museums we have visited.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank iluvjada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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