5. There Were Satellite Whitney Museums All Over NYC
590 Madison Avenue was once a satellite museum, and still showcases modern art in the corporate lobby
The first satellite Whitney Museum opened in 1973 at 55 Water Street downtown, in a space leased for $1 a year to the museum by the building owner Harold Uris. The satellite moved to a Philip Morris building on Park Avenue in 1983, and later that decade satellite museums opened in the lobbies of the I.B.M. Building at 590 Madison Avenue, the 2 Federal Reserve Plaza downtown, the Equitable Life Insurance Building at 787 Seventh Avenue. At the opening of the latter in 1986, the New York Times wrote that “the museum has now wedded its future to corporations,” and warned of the influence of such corporations on commissioned works.
Outside of New York City, there was a satellite exhibition space in the Champion International Corporation headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, which closed in 2001 due to shortage of funds and support. These satellite branches were truly such, in the sense that each had its own museum director.