Some things just aren't meant to fit in. The Whitney Museum of American Art certainly sounds like an august institution. But it was born on a scruffy back street in Greenwich Village at a time when "bohemian" meant "disreputable," and during its six decades uptown-most of them at Madison Avenue and Seventy-Fifth Street, in the moneyed precincts of the Upper East Side-it never really outgrew its origins. It did, however, outgrow its starkly modernist home, Marcel Breuer's inverted ziggurat from 1966. In addition to the usual curatorial squabbles and courting of benefactors and some epic board disputes, the Whitney spent decades trying to assuage its neighbors while somehow finding a way to expand. The task was hopeless. So it was with a feeling not just of relief but of joy that last spring, having renounced itsuptown location, the museum opened the doors to an expansive new building in the part of downtown Manhattan that until a few years ago was a reeking abattoir. Home, sweet home.
It is easy to succumb to the beauty of Budapest, Hungary's capital city, which straddles the legendary Danube River flowing down from Germany out to the Black Sea. High on a hill on the Buda side stands the Buda Castle, erected on the ruins of former royal palaces going back to the thirteenth century. It is answered across the river in Pest by the Hungarian Houses of Parliament, an immense Gothic pile of pinnacles modeled after London's Palace of Westminster (Fig. 2). Hungary's Parliament is just one of the grand architectural monuments built during Budapest's heyday at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries—a period of peace and economic prosperity after centuries of foreign rule.
Art pilgrims intent on making Cambridge, England, their destination should extend their journey beyond the university's majestic Fitzwilliam Museum and its old masters and Kettle's Yard, the fey modernist cenacle of British art between the wars, to include the New Hall Art Collection at Murray Edwards College, one of three exclusively women's colleges at the University of Cambridge. Unknown to many Cambridge students and faculty, and a substantial number of British art historians and critics, the college has collected and exhibits more than four hundred works of art by women. It is the most significant collection of its kind in Europe, and the second largest public collection of women's art in existence, surpassed only by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., which houses some forty-five hundred objects.
"The Civil War has left its mark on two important pieces of vernacular furniture acquired by the Wadsworth Atheneum"