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Whitney Museum of American Art is New York’s newest masterpiece

The cantilevered Whitney Museum of American Art appears in the distance overlooking High Line park.

The cantilevered Whitney Museum of American Art appears in the distance overlooking High Line park.

(Rosemary McClure )

Two things to remember about the Whitney Museum of American Art: Buy tickets in advance online, and don’t go on a weekend, especially Sundays.

Those are the best ways to avoid the lines that sometimes snake around New York City’s newest masterpiece. Another thing to remember: Don’t miss it.

The venerable Whitney moved in the spring from Madison Avenue and 75th Street to a stately steel-and-glass home adjacent to the High Line park on Manhattan’s Lower West Side in one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods.

The area’s popularity explains some of the crowds that gather here regularly. But the museum’s outstanding collection, recognized as one of the world’s finest holdings of 20th century American art, is the real draw.

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The new facility, a $422-million cantilevered building by Italian architect Renzo Piano, gives the Whitney 50,000 square feet of gallery space, allowing it to display more of its permanent collection of American art, including works by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe and many others.

The museum, founded in 1930 by sculptor and collector Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, got its start when Whitney offered 500 pieces to New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. After it turned down her offer, she started her own museum.

But as her collection grew, so did the museum, outgrowing several homes.

The new eight-floor facility at 99 Gansevoort St. offers enough space to present the collection it is devoted to: 20th century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. There are also two restaurants and great views of the High Line, Hudson River and Manhattan.

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Info: (212) 570-3600, www.whitney.org. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $18 for seniors and students. Pay-what-you-wish tickets, 7-9:30 p.m. Fridays.

travel@latimes.com

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