The Whitney Museum’s Gansevoort Market Historic District art program gets another renewal

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The Whitney Museum’s Gansevoort Market Historic District art program gets another renewal

Lucas Blalock’s Donkeys Crossing the Desert on view at 95 Horatio in Manhattan from May 6, 2019 through March 1, 2020. (Google Maps)

A popular public art program in New York City’s Gansevoort Market Historic District has been reauthorized for another decade.

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted 10–0 this week to approve an application from the Whitney Museum of American Art to continue its Public Art Series program, in which large-scale reproductions of artworks are temporarily mounted on the side of an apartment building across Gansevoort Street from the museum.

The commission first approved a program in 2015 that called for art to be displayed on the Gansevoort Street-facing side of The West Coast at 95 Horatio Street, a former cold storage warehouse completed in 1935 for the Manhattan Refrigerating Company and converted to apartments in the 1980s.

The initial certificate of appropriateness, issued December 10, 2015, called for compositions to be displayed on a rotating basis within a 17-by-29-foot frame installed on part of the second and third floors of the neoclassical former warehouse, plus a plaque at street level identifying the works on view. The images in the frame are reproductions of the originals but blown up on photo-printed vinyl. The period of authorization expired on December 8, 2021.

At a January 4 LPC public hearing, museum representatives asked for permission to continue the art program, presenting two works a year, with each remaining on display for approximately six months at a time. The commission voted to grant a certificate of appropriateness for another 10 years, after which the museum could apply for another extension.

The Whitney’s program is a collaboration between the museum, The West Coast’s owner TF Cornerstone, and High Line Art. The program has featured works by Alex Katz; Michele Abeles, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Christine Sun Kim, Derek Fordjour, Do Ho Suh, Andrea Carlson, Jill Mulleady, and Lucas Blalock, among others.

Several commissioners praised the museum and its program.

“So much public art I think is sort of unmoored, if you will,” said commission vice-chair Frederick Bland. “But this is so moored. It’s right across the street from the Whitney, and it’s the Whitney that is the curators of this art, so it seems to me to be particularly appropriate.“

“We all enthusiastically support the program here,” added chair Sarah Carroll. “It’s been incredibly successful and we look forward to seeing it continue.”