Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Kelly Crow notes that the design of art museums has traditionally fallen within two camps: classicism or stark modernity.
Historically, collectors encouraged museums to create spaces that resembled cultural temples, with classical columns and ornate crown moulding to match the significance of the objects on display. In recent decades, many museums and galleries favored an architecture of stark white-cube rooms with walls treated in sleek, modern finishes...
[Yet] when the Whitney began considering designs more than a decade ago, Adam Weinberg, the director, said he asked architects for the exact opposite.
Ms. Crow goes on to describe how the new Whitney Museum of American Art is a museum, 'designed to wow artists as much as audiences.' In her piece on the new Renzo Piano designed museum, Crow outlines Mr. Piano's intentions for the Whitney to be a new kind of museum - one that invites curators and artists alike to be flexible, innovative, even playful:
'...the 84-year-old [Whitney] museum is changing far more than its address...
The new building’s nearly 50,000 square feet of gallery floors will be made of neither trendy concrete nor lavish marble. Instead, Whitney officials chose reclaimed Heart Pine from former area factories, so artists could hammer nails into it or tear up small sections if needed. (The museum has a cache of extra planks in case anyone does.)
A lattice-like grid on the ceiling of the main gallery means artists won’t have to cut through drywall to suspend their work. That 18,200-square-foot room has no columns, making it the largest museum gallery in New York City with uninterrupted views.”
Donna De Salvo, the museum's chief curator, told ABC News that, 'artists will be inspired by the new spaces and will "reinvent them over and over again." They're tailored to the needs of how artists — and curators — work, she said. Floors throughout are sprung, allowing for both performance and installations. Open-grid ceilings permit walls and art to be arranged into multitude configurations.'
In crafting the over 50,000 square feet of Reclaimed Heart Pine flooring for the new Whitney Museum, The Hudson Company is honored to be a part of this landmark of innovative, contextual, and culturally-significant architecture.
The industrial history of the Reclaimed Heart Pine floors (sourced from decommissioned American factories) supports the Whitney’s mission to create a space that Director Weinberg calls, 'rough and ready' artist’s canvas. The nature and dimensions of the Reclaimed Heart Pine flooring, along with it's intentionally flexible profile, allows for the floors, like so much at the new Whitney, to be modified to best fit the needs of the museum, artists, and audiences using the space.
Click for more details about The Hudson Company Reclaimed Heart Pine [Chalk Finish] flooring featured throughout the new Whitney Museum of American Art.
Click to learn more about The Hudson Company + Whitney Museum Design Installation.
Click to watch the new Hudson Company Video.
All Installation Photos by Martin Hyers of Gentyl&Hyers Photography for The Hudson Company. Cover photo by Max Touhey for ny.curbed.com.