Join DOCOMOMO US/New York Tri-State for a special private farewell tour of Marcel Breuer and Hamilton Smith’s iconic Upper East Side building, originally built as the Whitney Museum of American Art, during its last days in use as an art museum. Its current occupant, Frick Madison, will close March 3, 2024, fifty seven years after Breuer’s best known building first opened to the public in fall of 1966. Purchased by Sotheby’s, its next use will be as an auction house.
After the Whitney moved to the Meatpacking District, the Metropolitan Museum commissioned Beyer Blinder Belle to design a respectful restoration, which “burnished” the original structure to serve as the Met Breuer. Upon completion, the building looked better than it had in years. Among other accolades, the restoration received a 2016 DOCOMOMO Modernism in America Award.
Following the Met’s departure in 2020, in March of 2021, The Frick Collection opened a temporary installation of highlights from its exceptional collection in the space during the restoration of its historic complex. That installation, Frick Madison, was designed by Stephen Saitas with Annabelle Selldorf.
This private tour, when the museum is closed to the public, will examine the building’s history and consider how it has been adapted to meet the needs of two prominent museums since the Whitney Museum moved out. Eminent architectural historian Barry Bergdoll, who has written on Breuer, will address the original design. Architect Carolyn Straub, now Associate Director for Capital Projects at The Frick Collection, was part of the Beyer Blinder Belle team for the restoration and she will discuss that project. Exhibition designer Stephen Saitas will explain how he and his collaborators chose to display The Frick Collection’s masterworks in a very different environment from their longtime home.