The Whitney Museum of American Art presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. The Whitney is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art, and its collection—comprising more than 19,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, films, videos, and new media by more than 2,900 artists—contains some of the most significant and exciting work created by artists in the United States during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Museum's signature exhibition, the Biennial, is the country's leading survey of the most recent developments in American art.
Innovation has been a hallmark of the Whitney since its beginnings. It was the first museum dedicated to the work of living American artists and the first New York museum to present a major exhibition of a video artist, Nam June Paik in 1982. Artists including Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Cindy Sherman were given their first museum retrospectives by the Whitney. The Museum has consistently purchased works within the year they were created, often well before the artists became broadly recognized. The Whitney was the first museum to take its exhibitions and programming beyond its walls by establishing corporate-funded branch facilities and the first museum to undertake a program of collection-sharing in order to increase access to its renowned collection.
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