NEW YORK — Tiffany & Co. is giving the Whitney Museum of American Art one big housewarming present: The fine jewelry company has signed on to become the lead sponsor of the Whitney Biennial through 2021.
The long-term agreement calls for Tiffany to sponsor the museum’s next three Biennials, which exhibit American art created by young and lesser-known artists, and will be held in 2017, 2019 and 2021.
Though this partnership is the first of its kind for Tiffany, Frédéric Cumenal, the jeweler’s chief executive officer, noted that the arts have long been in the company’s DNA. “We’ve always been committed to design, art, culture, and we have had partnerships with the most famous artists in the U.S., and New York in particular,” he said. “The first was one of ours: Louis Comfort Tiffany. We tend to forget that this guy was a genius and an artist himself. We have a long, lasting collaboration with artists, from Gene Moore taking care of our whimsical window displays, and we’ve done collaborations with Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Jones, and all of them are featured in the Whitney itself. It’s something that is embedded in our code. It’s not something new to us.”
BCBG Max Azria last sponsored the event in 2014, which marked the final Biennial at the Whitney’s Upper East Side location. The 2017 Biennial will be the first to be held in the museum’s new Renzo Piano-designed building in the Meatpacking District, which will officially open to the public on May 1. “It is fantastic,” said Cumenal, one of the few who has been granted an early preview inside the building. “The combination of the external light playing with the views, for a museum, is unique. There is nothing like it on Earth. I’m in love with the building.”