Director's StatementOn the National EndowmentsFor the Arts and the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, which now face the threat of being abolished, were established more than half a century ago by an act of Congress. In that historic legislation, Congress declared that “the arts and humanities belong to all the people of the United States” and that democracy must "foster and support a form of education, and access to the arts and the humanities.”
These words, written in 1965, are as true now as they were then. Federal support for the arts is a signal of our national values, priorities and aspirations, and is a powerful and much-needed stimulus for private philanthropy. As an institution specifically dedicated to presenting and discussing contemporary American culture, the Whitney Museum of American Art feels a special responsibility to speak as an advocate for the continuing importance of the NEA and NEH. For institutions large and small, historic and contemporary, throughout the fifty states, and for the public they serve, the NEA and NEH are irreplaceable and must be preserved. They are essential agents in elevating the quality of life in our nation.
Adam D. Weinberg
Alice Pratt Brown Director
About the Whitney
As the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. The Whitney is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art, and its collection—arguably the finest holding of twentieth-century American art in the world—is the Museum's key resource. The Museum's signature exhibition, the Biennial, is the country's leading survey of the most recent developments in American art.
Innovation has been a hallmark of the Whitney since its beginnings. It was the first museum dedicated to the work of living American artists and the first New York museum to present a major exhibition of a video artist (Nam June Paik in 1982). Such figures as Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Cindy Sherman were given their first museum retrospectives by the Whitney. The Museum has consistently purchased works within the year they were created, often well before the artists became broadly recognized. The Whitney was the first museum to take its exhibitions and programming beyond its walls by establishing corporate-funded branch facilities, and the first museum to undertake a program of collection-sharing (with the San Jose Museum of Art) in order to increase access to its renowned collection.
Designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the Whitney's new building vastly increases the Museum’s exhibition and programming space, providing the most expansive view ever of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art.
The Whitney Museum Thanks Its Donors
Support for the Whitney’s general operations is provided by donors to the Museum’s Annual Fund, public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, Bloomingdale's, the Enoch Foundation, the Gardner Grout Foundation, the Howard Bayne Fund, Inc., the Joseph & Sophia Abeles Foundation, Inc., the Leon Levy Foundation, the Marc Haas Foundation, the Tianaderrah Foundation, and the William Talbott Hilman Foundation.