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The Whitney’s Latest Architectural Antics

I can understand why, as reported in today’s NY Times, the Whitney Museum might want to consider ditching its on-site expansion plans for the trendy environs of downtown. Its Renzo Piano-designed proposal for Madison Avenue suffered significant modification in response to neighbors’ critiques and government reviews, and there is still an unresolved lawsuit from local opponents. The High Line, in a comparatively undeveloped area, will probably pose fewer restrictions and attract younger crowds.
Whitney press spokesperson Jan Rothschild confirmed to CultureGrrl that dropping Piano’s plan is one of the possibilities now under consideration. The museum, she said, is in discussions with New York officials about use of the city-owned High Line property (which was to have been the site of the now scrapped new facility for the Dia Art Foundation). Other possible sites, Rothschild said, are also being considered.
But when a museum gets a deserved reputation as a revolving door for directors and architects, who will want to work there? Will Piano join the ranks of Michael Graves and Rem Koolhaas as distinguished architects who spent considerable time and creative energy on aborted Whitney expansions?
And will the current Whitney director, Adam Weinberg, join the Guggenheim’s Thomas Krens in mounting a mini-retrospective of his institution’s unbuilt facilities?

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