Welcome to New York, We’ve Been Waiting for You
Those who follow The Jet Set Family on Instagram were treated to a very special inside peek of my return trip to New York City sans Kiddo with Kia Motors. While visiting the City that Never Sleeps, which is 100% accurate by the way, we spent part of the day at the muy impressive Whitney Museum of American Art. It is such an incredible place. Museums inspire, but I wasn’t prepared for these pieces to be so special, so powerful, and IMO they each deserve special attention. If you find yourself in Downtown Manhattan, you mustn’t pass up a chance to visit.
Whitney Museum of American Art
After breakfast at Jack’s wife Freda, we found ourselves touring the Whitney which is a place I could spend hours. It is very easy to lose track of time in a place like this. In a heartbeat I know I could, and I did. The best way to describe it? Imagine a place where Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory meets The Broad or MoMA The Museum of Modern Art. Now add a splash of Beetlejuice mixed in for good measure. But the most magical part was the natural landscape, the concrete jungle and cloudy skies outside the floor to ceiling windows made for the perfect backdrop. Some could even say it is its very own work of art.
When I’m visiting a museum, regardless of the first time or the fiftieth, I do it in a certain way. I simply prefer to walk on my own when not on a curated tour. Art is so subjective that you should be able to spend as much time, (or as little time,) looking and learning about a piece as you want. When I walked into this room, I first thought the man dressed head to toe in black was a sculpture, part of the exhibit. He was absolutely frozen, completely taking in this painting, not moving an inch, so still you couldn’t even see him breathing. As I got closer, I realized it was my friend John doing exactly what I mentioned. He gets it. To some, this is just a rectangle canvas painted burnt orange, but to John, you can tell it was something much more.
Rain, Rain DON’T Go Away?
For the first time in what feels like an eternity I actually wanted to sit in the rain. I wanted to live in a gray world for just a few minutes to remember what it was like. Even our rainiest days in California don’t resemble this.
She had no idea I was out there. No idea I was taking this photo. I had no idea what she was doing or what she was looking at, I didn’t want to disturb her. So many unanswered questions, but such a NYC moment. She reminded me of a spy.
My Top 3 Favorite Art Pieces at The Whitney
Narrowing down eight floors of the most wonderful pieces of art was no easy task. I actually lost sleep over this challenge, and decided to put it to bed (literally,) by getting back on the computer at 3 am Monday morning to write this section. Needless to say, they are in no special order.
Of course, I have to mention this piece first. I’ve always been attracted to American Goth art for as long as I can recall, but to see it up close is so much different than any other famous work of art I’ve ever seen in person. Seeing this Grant Wood painting actually blew me away and I didn’t expect that. More than any Warhol or Lichtenstein I’ve seen that’s for sure. Probably one of the most parodied paintings, it’s easy to see why this painting is so iconic. (On the other hand, I kept thinking about this scene in Rocky Horror Picture Show with Riff Raff and Magenta. Or was it Columbia? Sigh.)
For the first time ever, a painting actually spoke to me. Not only did I immediately feel as though if I were to be a painting, then I would be this Ad Reinhardt one, but it also captured how I felt at that moment. When you receive life-changing news, the sound around you goes out. This was the sign, or maybe the hug I needed. I’ve always said, “My favorite colors are anything darker than black,” but seeing it showcased in this way moved me and made me happy. Being at The Whitney allowed me to escape and forget the outside world for a few hours. Now, that’s amazing.
Without a doubt, AA Bronson’s Felix Partz painting was the most powerful piece of art I have ever laid eyes on. I wept, my raced and then my heart broke, and for a brief moment I was there with him. Right inside the painting. Trying to somehow comfort him just hours before his death from an AIDS-related illness. I was praying he knew he was not alone. It was surreal. For a few minutes before stepping into the room, you could see Partz’s billboard-sized hollow gaze from all angles. And that was on purpose. What I found out was the painting was purposely positioned to seem as though you were one of his visitors. The curators succeeded.
Is The Whitney Kid Friendly?
While I highly suggest previewing the exhibits prior to bringing your child, I will say it all depends on the individual’s maturity level. There are so many wonderful shapes, designs, and beautiful paintings, sculptures, and photographs, but some of the pieces featured will envoke questions, and will definitely leave an impression.
In a building filled with some heavy subjects and pieces of art that force you to think about the world, we live in. There were children in almost every corner, sketching sculptures, learning about paintings from the curators, and asking questions. It was one of the most hopeful things I’ve ever witnessed.
These children were magical. They didn’t know, but I sat in on this lesson with them as I eavesdropped and I was so inspired. These children hold the keys to our future. Hearing them ask questions, and watching them sketch these paintings made the world seem hopeful again.
Tip: Visiting the Whitney with kids? Pick up a free O’Keeffe activity toolbox to be used throughout your visit at the admissions desk.
Arts + Bites
I love writing blog posts about our museum visits on The Jet Set Family so this will be no exception. Not only did Whitney house eight floors of priceless works of art, but there is also a cafe with incredible views from the top floor, and the restaurant, EAT, on the ground floor which is a perfect way to end a visit or spend time while waiting for your timed ticket to be called.
My intentions were to only stop in only for a brief moment to take a peek, but I had to tear myself out as they played a playlist that perfectly wrapped the Whitney up in a big giant beautiful bow. That’s the only way I can describe it. I had never felt so content. So at peace. First with Duran Duran’s “Save A Prayer”, into The Church’s “Under the Milky Way”, immediately followed by “Letters to Elise,” by The Cure and then The Smiths. Twelve minutes later I had to reluctantly leave, but I will be back. Oh, yes. I will.
Have You Visited The Whitney?
What did you think? We would love to know more about your experience. By sharing your tips, recommendations and memories in our comment section below, you help fellow members of The JetSet Family community decide the best fit for them and their families. Let us know what you liked most, or if you have any questions about The Whitney Museum of American Art.
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