The Whitney Museum of American Art has more to celebrate this year than its 75th anniversary. Director Adam D. Weinberg announced yesterday that the museum will receive a $1.5 million grant, courtesy of the Henry Luce Foundation, established in 1936 by the cofounder and editor in chief of Time Inc. to support scholarship and education. The grant will be applied to the institution’s $720-million expansion into a new downtown building, allowing “a far more comprehensive view of the Whitney’s unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art,” according to Weinberg.
The building, designed by Renzo Piano and scheduled to open in 2015, is currently under construction at the southern end of the High Line. It will have three times the gallery space of the Madison Avenue museum and will be used to exhibit more of the Whitney’s permanent collection, which has grown from 2,000 works in 1966 to 19,000 today.
In addition to the grant, the Luce Foundation will provide initial funding for the Whitney’s Collections Documentation Initiative, a research project to better document the museum’s holdings before exhibition in the new space. Prior to this, the Luce Foundation has supported many of the Whitney’s exhibitions, most recently “Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World” and “Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe.”