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Whitney Museum of American Art in New York's Meatpacking District

The Whitney Museum's new annex adds to the district's reincarnation.

As if you needed another reason to visit New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art has opened its new Renzo Piano-designed building, in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. "We're so thrilled with what Renzo has created," says the Whitney's director, Adam Weinberg, of the architect who also designed the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and Berlin's Potsdamer Platz.

However, the eight floors of art, educational facilities and workshop spaces (all with the chameleon-like ability to change function and form with the flick of a switch) are more than just a gallery; together they form an important jigsaw piece in the district's reincarnation.

From carcass wholesaler to luxury hotspot, the Meatpacking District is now home to boutiques, food markets and, of course, the elevated train track-cum-inner-city garden, the High Line.

"The High Line is such a clever invention and the fact that the Whitney is now the terminal of it is proof of this wonderful urban vision," says Luigi Maramotti, chairman of Italian brand Max Mara, whose art-collecting family were awarded a Whitney Museum American Art Award in 2014 for sustained commitment to the arts. "Our connection to the Whitney goes way back; we have always loaned paintings from the Collezione Maramotti to the Whitney biennial."

To mark the occasion, Max Mara has designed the Whitney bag in conjunction with the Renzo Piano Building Workshop: a sold-out limited-edition tote reminiscent of the building itself. "The Whitney bag embodies Max Mara values: fashion, design, craftsmanship and quality," says Maria Giulia Prezioso Maramotti, the brand's US retail director.

"America Is Hard to See" is showing at the Whitney until 27 September.

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