The Whitney Museum’s Lessons, Good and Bad

Installation view of Julie Mehretu, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 24-August 8, 2021. From left: Mogamma (A Painting in Four Parts) (3 of 4), 2012; Being Higher II, 2013; and Looking Back to a Bright New Future, 2003. (Photograph: Ron Amstutz)
With new curators, next year’s Biennial has nowhere to go but up.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE I had a good visit to the Whitney last week. It’s a fantastic place. In my opinion, one of the happiest art stories in the past 20 or so years is the Whitney’s now-six-year-old building and the museum’s move from the Upper East Side to what formerly was, in my memory, a dodgy, scuzzy waterfront and, before that, the home of the city’s meatpacking industry. No esplanades of hyacinths and gloved doormen there.

Walking through the Julie Mehretu show, occupying the entire fifth floor, and the smaller Dawoud Bey show, I pinch myself. The galleries are elegant and gracious. I

(Whitney Museum of American Art, Purchase, with funds from the Photography Committee 94.18a-b. © Dawoud Bey)

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