Yesterday afternoon, the Whitney’s board unanimously approved plans for a new space in the meatpacking district. The downtown building should be completed in 2015 and will allow the museum much needed room to expand–currently, the Whitney can only display 150 works at a time from its collection of 18,000.
The vote was a “carefully choreographed” development, according to The Times. The biggest surprise was that chairman emeritus Leonard Lauder voted in favor of the move and spoke “passionately” in its support:
“Downtown is a new city, a new nation. Why shouldn’t the Whitney be the museum of record there?” Mr. Lauder said in an interview.
He cited several reasons for his change of heart. In addition to the board’s having raised more money than was anticipated, and having done it more quickly, he said, “there is no better time to build than now, with construction costs and interest rates at an all-time low.”
“There is a new generation of people who have come on the board who are not rooted to the past,” Mr. Lauder said. “It would be unfair for someone like me who grew up near the Whitney to believe it should stay there.”
But don’t count out the Upper East Side old guard quite yet: the Met is considering leasing the Whitney’s old building on 75th street.
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