The Whitney Museum of American Art (Whitney) is one of the most popular museums in New York City. Founded in the 1930s, its collection includes artworks created in the 20th-21st centuries. To understand the impression which the exhibited art objects and the overall atmosphere of the Whitney have on the public, it is important to discuss its location, collection, and marketing.
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The Whitney is located in the Meatpacking District of the West Side of Manhattan, near the Hudson River. This neighborhood is popular among young people, and there are many restaurants and fashion boutiques located nearby. As a result, when planning a visit to Whitney, it is possible to expect to find the most interesting, innovative, and provocative works that have not become outdated or out of fashion.
Furthermore, the building of the Whitney, which was designed by Renzo Piano, is impressive because of the proposed exhibition space (more than 50,000 square feet) and massive asymmetrical exterior. The space in this museum is very expensive, and it seems to add value to the exhibited artworks. Indoor galleries impress with large white open spaces that do not distract from an examination of the collection, as well as with wide windows that present panoramas of the Hudson River. Some elements of an industrial design are used in decorating halls. The space of the Whitney affects visitors and influences their perception of works while accentuating the uniqueness of each piece.
The Whitney’s collection contains more than 23,000 works, and they are located on different floors of the building where exhibitions are grouped according to periods and artists. Effective lighting and the white walls draw viewers’ attention to each art object. Sculptures and installations are grouped in the middle of halls, and certain technologies are used to move art objects realizing artists’ ideas, as it is in the case of Alexander Calder’s motor-driven and moving works.
The most memorable artworks can be found on the seventh floor of the gallery. There, one can view the works of the first Precisionists, Charles Demuth and George C. Ault. Demuth’s Buildings, Lancaster (1930) is a vivid example of the Precisionist style with its bright colors and representation of symbols of the American city in the 1920s-1930s: factories, industrial buildings, and skyscrapers.
This work may have a positive impact on a viewer due to its accentuation of the aspects of American history, heritage, and urbanism with the help of bright colors and the most effective perspectives. Ault’s The Artist at Work (1946) has elements of Precisionism, but it also reflects the artist’s interest in Cubism. This work vividly creates a uniquely positive and sunny impression on a viewer. All the information about these artists is available in audio guides. The museum also provides opportunities for young talented artists to exhibit their works in the context of regular art projects which are oriented to developing contemporary art.
When considering marketing strategies used in the Whitney, it is possible to say that the target audience includes several different groups of visitors: people who are interested in art, tourists, reviewers, young artists, investors, and students. The museum proposes a range of scheduled exhibitions, projects, and programs that are interesting to a wide audience. Thus, the mission of the Whitney is to promote contemporary American art and demonstrate creative pieces to as many people as possible.
The David Zwirner Gallery
The first David Zwirner Gallery was opened in 1993 and is now located in Chelsea, New York City. Similar to other neighborhoods of Manhattan, this area is attractive to artists, and there are many large and small galleries in Chelsea. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss how the David Zwirner Gallery differs from museums and galleries located in other boroughs of New York City.
The atmosphere of Chelsea influences the perception of artworks exhibited in the gallery, as they are expected to be trendy, pioneering, and fashionable. This contemporary art gallery is focused on representing works by modern popular artists, as well as works by famous artists of the 20th century which can be sold. The five-story, 30,000-square-foot building of the gallery which was designed by Annabelle Selldorf can be described as industrial, monumental, and rough.
The interior of the gallery is minimalistic, containing halls of varying sizes, and the largest column-free space in the building is a 5,000-square-foot gallery. As the walls in the gallery are white and without decoration, this background is appropriate for presenting different paintings and installations. General, directional, and spot types of lighting are used to accentuate the aesthetics of art objects.
The works by Ruth Asawa and Suzan Frecon, who are currently exhibited in the gallery, are worthy of note. They may influence a viewer because of people’s possible positive associations with well-known and positively regarded objects such as jewelry or the sun. Ruth Asawa’s hanging sculptures are shining, sophisticated, and attract the public’s attention because of their form and complexity. However, if Asawa’s works attract visitors to the gallery because of their unique forms, Suzan Frecon’s abstract paintings draw the audience’s attention because of their deep and vivid colors. The use of balance and color in these paintings makes a viewer look at the works in detail and at length. Especially noticeable are the themes of sunset and sunrise in her works.
These exhibitions are presented in large halls, and this space arrangement allows for viewers to move slowly from one piece to another, observing their details from different distances and perspectives. Furthermore, at these exhibitions, information about artists’ biographies, as well as their career stage and progress, is provided. It is possible to state that the overall atmosphere in the gallery and its location influence the perception of these works, and they seem to be presented for not only persons interested in art but also for potential buyers of these art pieces. Other ways of promoting artworks are primarily associated with conducting individual or sponsored exhibitions in rented halls.
The target audience of the David Zwirner Gallery includes young artists who require promotion and want to sell their works, students, critics, sponsors, collectors, dealers, and other potential buyers who are interested in purchasing pieces of contemporary art. While visitors’ interests are addressed while planning exhibitions and preparing guides for them, the main focus is still on the promotion of contemporary art to sell works in the gallery or at auctions. From this point, the David Zwirner Gallery is a good start for many artists who need to develop their careers or make a debut in New York City.
Pierogi (Lower East Side)
Pierogi is one of many art galleries and museums located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. While considering this neighborhood, it is rather problematic to choose which art gallery to visit because they can be found on almost every street. The Lower East Side is known as a new “art Mecca” in New York, and it is important to discuss how this neighborhood influences the art business here.
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Pierogi is located on Suffolk Street, and its closest neighbor is the Rachel Uffner Gallery. The collections of both galleries are arranged in rented halls, which is a typical practice for the Lower East Side. As a result, new buildings do not break or affect the atmosphere of these areas full of townhouses and tenement-style houses, as well as boutiques and restaurants. The environment of this neighborhood allows a visitor to assume that, in these galleries, he or she will see many works created by unknown but very talented artists.
With this intention, the interior of the gallery is very minimalistic, with an emphasis on artworks, not on a design or the name of a famous designer. White walls and bright lighting are enough to help viewers focus their attention on artworks that have been thematically arranged by the scheduled exhibitions. The proposed space is not enough to hold large installations, but it effectively creates a comfortable and home-like atmosphere.
It is important to note that the target audience of Pierogi includes collectors, sponsors, dealers, and artists, especially young artists are interested in modern tendencies and successes of other professionals in the field, as well as dealers who are interested in finding new names in the sphere of contemporary art. Thus, the mission of Pierogi is to contribute to the promotion of emerging artists, as well as those individuals who have recently started their careers and became known among the public and dealers. The focus is also on attracting those artists who work with a range of materials and media, and whose art pieces are rather eclectic.
In this gallery, it is important to concentrate on the works by David Scher, an artist whose paintings are currently exhibited in Pierogi. It w9uld be incorrect to state that Scher is a young artist who has only started his career, but such exhibitions attract the audience’s attention to both the gallery and artist while stimulating the sale of art pieces. Scher’s works impress viewers because they resemble some creative manuscripts or specific documents that illustrate fairy tales, fantastic creatures, or historical events.
This effect is the result of using many different forms of media to paint and arrange objects in space. Thus, some parts of these artworks are painted in pink, and some objects are drawn on paper with pencils. These works are significant to draw the public’s attention to the artist because of their uniqueness and innovativeness.
Those artists whose paintings are exhibited in Pierogi have many opportunities to present their work in other galleries in the Lower East Side. Still, possibilities to demonstrate works outside a commercial gallery system are limited. However, the number of galleries and dealers in the Lower East Side allows artists to choose where to exhibit their works.