While at the groundbreaking for the downtown Whitney Museum last week, I got to thinking about the uptown building. As with most change, there are risks associated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent deal to occupy the Whitney Museum’s Madison Avenue Breuer building when it decamps for Tribeca.

But there is a huge opportunity too. So forget about the knee-jerk reactions others have expressed about how putting contemporary art into the Whitney “outpost” turns it into a stepchild, or how Met will lower its quality standards to fill those galleries.

Or even, from another point of view, how it will divide the Met’s audience — the cool kids will go to the contemporary galleries and the fuddy-duddies will go to the Fifth Avenue Met.

I have aspirations for the Met-Whitney, which are related to the third.

It isn’t always easy for museum-goers to see or understand links between old art and new art, yet many contemporary artists are inspired by pre-WW II art. I would like to see the Met organize exhibitions in the Breuer building that helps people learn about those relationships.

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Judith H. Dobrzynski
Real Clear Arts

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