Peggy Guggenheim’s Great-Grandson Opens a Gallery in Former Williamsburgh Savings Bank

Santiago Rumney Guggenheim gets into the gallery game.

Photo: Courtesy Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.
Exterior of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, now known as Weylin B. Seymour's, the home of Rumney Guggenheim Photo: Courtesy Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.

The Williamsburgh Savings Bank, now in use as a popular event space under the name Weylin B. Seymour’s, is a New York landmark. And if Santiago Rumney Guggenheim has anything to say about it, the historic building may soon be an art world hot spot.

The great-grandson of legendary arts patron Peggy Guggenheim, who has previously worked at Gagosian and a handful of other galleries in Paris and New York, will open the doors of Rumney Guggenheim Gallery this week.

Housed inside the former bank, the gallery’s inaugural show, “Some Place Like Home” will feature Brooklyn art scene staples Swoon and Olek, as well as neon artist Olivia Steele, street artist Boxhead, Los Angeles-based three-dimensional artist Moral Turgeman, and installation artist Michelle P. Dodson.

Olivia Steele, Heart Core (2012). Photo: Courtesy Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.

Olivia Steele, Heart Core (2012).
Photo: Courtesy Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.

Rumney Guggenheim told artnet News over email that he first set his sights on the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank after attending an event there. “It is like nothing I’ve seen in New York since moving from Paris,” he said.

Inside Rumney Guggenheim Gallery. Photo: Courtesy Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.

Inside Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.
Photo: Courtesy Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.

While the Brooklyn art scene is on the up-and-up—and supposedly has been for years—it has yet to develop spaces with the kind of clout and following (especially among moneyed collectors) as those in Chelsea. Despite the fact that many artists maintain studios and homes in the borough, galleries in Williamsburg and Bushwick have remained largely secondary to their Manhattan competitors.

“My hope is that the gallery’s location at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge will make the gallery a destination for all,” Rumney Guggenheim notes, calling the architecture in Manhattan “somewhat impersonal.” He continued, “The energy in Brooklyn is completely different, and that attracted me immediately.”

Swoon, Dawn and Gemma (2014). Photo: Courtesy Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.

Swoon, Dawn and Gemma (2014).
Photo: Courtesy Rumney Guggenheim Gallery.

Despite the fact that he’s a recent transplant, Rumney Guggenheim’s decision to feature artists with street art sensibilities, some of whom already have loyal followings in the area, reflects a commitment to cultivating a gallery that’s representative of its time and place. “I don’t want to reveal too much at this time,” he says, noting, “we sought out artists whose practice is to forge interesting spatial interventions, in often unexpected media.”

He hopes to establish the space as a local cultural center that will be a draw for people on either side of the bridge.

“Some Place Like Home” at Rumney Guggenheim Gallery will open with an invite-only reception on October 8. It will be open to the public from October 9-November 11, 2015.


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