The week of April 21st may as well have been christened “Whitney Week” by Mayor De Blasio. There were press previews galore, a private dinner, and, no less, a handbag party thrown by Max Mara for a carry-all it created in conjunction with the opening of the new Whitney Museum of American Art building, designed by Renzo Piano. Then, on Friday, Max Mara took hosting duties again alongside the Whitney director Adam D. Weinberg and chief curator Donna De Salvo and Piano, sponsoring an opening night extravaganza for more than 3,000 guests. There were cocktails for VIP donors and members, a dinner on the museum’s top floor hosted by Max Mara chairman Luigi Maramotti and a late night dance party with DJ sets by Zoe Kravitz and St. Vincent. But despite the celebrity presence such efforts bring, they could not outshine the building itself and the museum’s inaugural exhibition, America is Hard to See, comprised of works from the institution’s permanent collection.
“I was at the old [building] the last time for the Jeff Koons exhibit, which was so great. And I’m so excited to be here to celebrate this one,” offered Dakota Fanning, who went fairly unnoticed and unbothered, as she wandered the galleries. “I live downtown, so it’s nice to have the museum a bit closer.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Jessica Parker (or rather her handler, keeping a watchful eye), begged off interviews, too busy was she examining the painting “Pittsburgh,” by Elsie Driggs and “Songs of the Sky B3” by Alfred Stieglitz. On another floor, three members of the Guerilla Girls artist collective, sporting their signature gorilla masks, caused a commotion among admirers, distracting them from the Henry Billings painting “Lehigh Valley.”
The sunset views from the gorgeous windows, particularly in a stairway, proved equally diverting, prompting one man to observe to his wife, “It’s amazing. It’s like being at the Top of the Standard.”
Welcome to the neighborhood.