The “Whitneyphile” badge (courtesy of Whitney Museum)

Unlike MoMA’s Marina Abramovic check-in badge, the Whitney’s new Foursquare collaboration is no joke. After using your smart phone to check in to the museum twice, plus once at a site pulled from the Whitney museum’s history, users will receive the “Whitneyphile” badge, which also grants holders a $5 ticket to the museum.

The list of possible sites to visit outside the present Whitney museum include past locations of the Whitney, the former home of its founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and the future site of the Whitney in the Meatpacking District.

Unfortunately, the $5 ticket offer is only good to redeem once between February 8 and May 31, but hopefully the Foursquare Mayor of the Whitney will get something special. Maybe a lifetime membership, or the chance to pick a prize from the museum’s collection? We can dream. This whole thing could be taken so much farther, anyway. What about a whole art-world-only set of Foursquare badges? We took the liberty of making some up:

  • Art Starfucker Badge: Check in at five blue-chip artists’ homes or studios, wherever the action went down. Just be sure to grab a drawing or something on the way out.
  • Gallery Opening Guerrilla: If you can survive the omnipresent small talk and cheap wine at five gallery openings, you’ll probably be able to survive nuclear holocaust too. Way to go!
  • Gallery Opening Ninja: Check in at five gallery openings without being seen or talked to. But of course, if you weren’t in the Scene and Herd, you don’t matter anyway.
  • Modern Master: If you can make it to the Museum of Modern Art every day for a week straight, you totally deserve this badge. You still have to pay $20 per ticket though.
  • Chelsea Hat Trick: Check in to three Chelsea galleries on any given Saturday, while dodging strollers and packs of tour-goers. Survival, not enlightenment, is the only goal.
  • LES Scenester: Go to ten Lower East Side gallery openings and consume one free drink at each. Let’s face it, that’s what everyone’s there for, and you didn’t look at the art either.
  • Jersey Survivor: Check in to just one museum in Jersey and come back alive. This will be a rare badge since you’ll be the only one there anyway.

In the meantime, the Museum of Art and Design is offering a free annual membership with four check-ins to the museum. Now that sounds like a good deal:


Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly, Kill Screen, Creators...

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