I wrote a few weeks ago about the Whitney Museum of American Art’s impending move to a new location in the Meatpacking District. It is unknown exactly what will become of the historic Breuer building on Madison Avenue. The New York Times raises an interesting question: if a landmark that has been inextricable with its purpose is stripped of that purpose, how does said landmark function in the community? Says the article:
If it decides to sell, it will be offering a monument that is probably unexpandable, even unchangeable, and unmistakably the brand of a single famous institution. Even if Breuer’s building comes into other hands, the name Whitney will never be far removed from this singular edifice.
It is possible that the Whitney will operate both building simultaneously, or partner with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to house the Met’s modern and contemporary galleries. If neither of those options goes through, however, any buyer will be left with a very strange piece of architecture. The building was designed so specifically for the museum that it’s very hard to imagine it serving as anything else. Madison Avenue will be haunted by the skeleton of the Whitney.