By now you’ve heard the news that the Whitney is, indeed, moving down to New York’s Meatpacking district where a six-floor 195,000 square foot Renzo Piano-designed museum will be built for $680 million ($372 million of which has astonishingly been raised already.) (Details from Lindsay Pollock.)
What you haven’t heard is that Leonard Lauder is on board with the plan, according to Carol Vogel:
The board met not at the museum, as it usually does, but in a conference room at the Standard Hotel on Washington Street, a block and a half from the new site. During the two-hour meeting, Leonard A. Lauder — the Whitney’s chairman emeritus and largest benefactor, and until now an opponent of the project — surprised everyone by voting in favor of the new building. Indeed, although there have been rumors for weeks that Mr. Lauder was considering resigning if the project went ahead, he spoke passionately in favor of it at the meeting.
“Downtown is a new city, a new nation. Why shouldn’t the Whitney be the museum of record there?” Mr. Lauder said in an interview.
He cited several reasons for his change of heart. In addition to the board’s having raised more money than was anticipated, and having done it more quickly, he said, “there is no better time to build than now, with construction costs and interest rates at an all-time low.”
“There is a new generation of people who have come on the board who are not rooted to the past,” Mr. Lauder said. “It would be unfair for someone like me who grew up near the Whitney to believe it should stay there.”
Whitney Board Votes to Move Downtown (Lindsay Pollock)
Whitney Museum Plans New Building Downtown (New York Times)