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A CurtainUp Review
America Is Hard to See
. . .an easy to enjoy and different theatrical experience at the spacious new Whitney Museum
By Elyse Sommer
All photos, unless otherwise identified, courtesy of the Whitney Museum
The new Whitney is of course very much a New York story since real estate-- being in the right neighborhood at the right time -- has always been an essential part of the New York experience. So the Whitney's move to the meat packing district and near the Southern end of the High Line is very much a case of being in the right neighborhood. While plays often move from Off-Broadway to the Great White Way and from there often back to more economically viable off-Broadway houses, The Whitney is moving from one high end location to another, if different, high end one.
Keith Haring, initially an outsider artist since his early canvases were New York's subway walls and cars. The social-activit artist became very much an insider, and inspired though all too briefly since he died of of AIDS. His story inspired a musical (unfortunately also short-lived), Radiant Baby My review of the Public Theater production ).
As I worked my way downward through each of the exhibitions "chapters" the only sign of the crowds the Whitney's new home is attracting was in the elevators (themselves works of art). Each gallery continued to project a peaceful, uncluttered welcoming experience. And if you're lucky, as I was, to be there on a beautiful day the stop on each floor's terrace was exhilarating.
The sculptures scattered throughout the exhibit also included familiar old friends like a trio of George Segal figures. The above mentioned museum inspired satire by playwright Tina Laundau included a sly reference to Hansen's work. The never before seen scuptures and assemblages were sometimes amusing and other times deliciously mysterious.
Given the size of this exhibit, it's too much to take it all in with a single visit. By the time I reached the last terrace (this one with comfortable leather couches and not just benches), I was primed for a return visit.
To have a look at more of what's on offer, check out the museum's website which will walk you through all eight flors of An Online view of the America Is Hard to Find exhibits