Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim has a famous last name that is synonymous with the art world. A distant relative to the Guggenheims who founded the museum of the same name in the United States, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim has cut out a path of his own.
What this French-German living in New York City also has in common with the other Guggenheims is his passion for art. Hoerle-Guggenheim’s love for the arts was developed at a young age. Inspired by his mother and grandmother, the German-born 36-year-old fell in love with art and those who create it.
After spending time working in finance, Hoerle-Guggenheim decided his true calling was to open the HG Contemporary Art Gallery in New York City. Hoerle-Guggenheim’s hip, cool and trendy art gallery shows off some of the best new artwork being created today by hot new artists. The Anglia Ruskin University graduate now sees his calling as a purveyor of the arts and has found his niche in the world.
The HG Contemporary Art Gallery is thriving and Hoerle-Guggenheim couldn’t be more pleased with its potential as one of the upcoming art houses in New York City.
Philippe, please tell us how the HG Contemporary began and what some of the highlights have been?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: HG Contemporary was founded a little over four years ago. At the time, I was an art advisor for private collectors, but then saw the opening of the gallery as a way to give artists the opportunity to show their work and establish myself on the primary market as well. Highlights have been numerous, but I’d like to list the opening of a second location as well as the many exciting collaborations with brands such as Aston Martin, Louis XIII and others. And each exhibition in and outside the gallery has been a highlight on its own.
How did you first become interested in art? Who encouraged you?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Art was everywhere I looked growing up. Whether in our home, family friends that were artists, the many museum tours my mother dragged me to at first – until I started dragging her to the work my family did within art. A true career in art was not something I had thought of until I set foot in the field on a professional level. Two artists asked me separately from one another to host their events during Art Basel Miami that year. I felt an immediate connection, and found myself right at home. Everything happened the way it was supposed to.
The HG Contemporary Art Gallery has regular exhibits from up and coming artists. The gallery shows off some of the hottest new exhibitions that features creators pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. The cutting-edge exhibits have helped give HG a reputation that few galleries are able to gain in such a short timeframe.
Please tell us about the different art exhibits and other shows you are organizing?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: The artists represented at HG Contemporary are all unique talents and the most promising talents in the art world right now. We had shows for Tim Bengel, a thorough sensation, who connects our affinity with social media and communication and unique medium of using sand and gold resulting in distinct pieces of artwork with video that reaches millions. We had shows for Laura Kimpton who creates powerful words and large scale sculptures that have become famous beyond just the burning man community. Marc Gumpinger, a treasured digital artist, who translates beautiful images into oil on canvas paintings. The list goes on. Our upcoming show on Thursday, May 17th, is by Nelson Saiers, a former hedge fund manager turned artist. The show is titled “Unusual and Exigent”, and given the ten year anniversary of the 2008 financial crash, the artist provides a social and historical discourse on Saiers’ experience as a proprietary trader in 2008 exploring many of the incredible aspects of the crisis. We will also open our brand new Madrid, Spain location on June 8th!
How do you choose the artists you show?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: I primarily look for what is unique, something that I have not seen before. It appears easily and often times tempting to choose artists that replicate something from the Warhols, or Basquiats of this world. Though they may do it successfully, and are certainly also good artists, we are looking for approaches that have not been touched before. It’s important for the future and positioning. At the same time you want to create value for artists and collectors alike.
Hoerle-Guggenheim has scheduled a number of unique exhibits found nowhere else in the art world. The gallery owner has worked hard to establish the HG Contemporary Art Gallery in New York City, and now sees the fruits of his labor pay off with his all-new Madrid, Spain-based gallery opening this summer.
Philippe, what is next for HG Contemporary?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: HG Contemporary Madrid, opening in June, is a very exciting venture. There are amazing shows coming up, one of which is Dan Eldon’s work exhibit in September. He is a beautiful artist that has devoted his life to spread light and life in crisis areas in Africa, and unfortunately, he lost his life doing working there. A foundation was started in his name that continues to do good, and the artwork he created will be shown at HG Contemporary. We will also have three living artist that will create a couple of works inspired by Eldon.
What sets your art gallery apart from other galleries?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: We are distinct in finding unique talent and we are not afraid to take risks where most galleries would not dare to go to. We create great opportunities for artists and collectors alike. Public art projects such as the large scale wall on 22nd and tenth avenue painted by Italian artist Pixel Pancho and other public art installations. We try to add value and invest in the artists we work with.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Seeing artwork gain value over time due to your doing. Artists all work hard to get the recognition they deserve. We are here to facilitate it and make it possible. For that to happen, we create win-win situations. It is rewarding to see artists happy to see progress in their careers. Having an impact in it is a blessing, and I truly enjoy every bit of it.
Like most entrepreneurs and businesspeople, Hoerle-Guggenheim finds his days packed with various tasks as he helps raise the profiles of his artists. Although many may think an art gallery director’s life to be easy, Hoerle-Guggenheim proves it is a non-stop, 24-hour, seven-day a week labor of love. But it isn’t all work and no play, as Hoerle-Guggenheim finds plenty of time to savor life outside of the HG gallery.
Philippe, what is a day in your life like?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Gallery life for me is just project after project. Often, I find myself with meetings back-to-back all day. Connections are important, and I’m always working on the next new idea to bring to the gallery. Right now, we’re in midst of getting Laura Kimpton’s sculpture on the outside of the World Trade Center. She’s a fabulous artist, and her monumental LOVE sculpture will really make a powerful statement.
What makes you smile?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Seeing the artists we represent be recognized for their talent is something that makes me ecstatic. They all have such innovative powerful work, and showing the world all their effort, and seeing their careers take off is something that makes me smile. I love that I get to be a part of the process. FYI, our next show is opening May 3rd with a collaboration between Domingo Zapata and Alejandro Sanz, the world famous singer. It is called SMILE.
What scares you?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Irrelevance. The world today, especially being in New York, everything changes so fast, and I pride myself on keeping the gallery fresh and innovative. The thought that what I do would turn stagnant, or that I would get stuck doing the same things over and over scares me. I really thrive on that fear, it’s this energy that drives me forward.
What is your greatest achievement?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Making the shift from the world of finance to the art world was a big step, and starting HG Contemporary and having such success with gallery in a short time in NYC. I take as a point of pride. I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.
What is your secret talent?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: I’d like to think my secret talent is my intuition. So much of the work I do at the gallery is about people, working with artists and collectors. Being able to trust my gut is something I rely on. Art, especially cutting-edge contemporary art, is about the impact it makes, so, especially in finding new artists, I put a lot faith in my intuition.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Charlie Chaplin was an innovator is his own time. He rose out of low circumstances to make a career as one of the most famous silent film artists ever to perform. I admire the force of will that career required, the vision and the drive to make such a name for himself.
Philippe, do you have any hobbies?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: I love to be outdoors and to exercise, it’s a great way to get some fresh air after too much time in the city. I’m actually competing in a half ironman next month which I’m really looking forward to. The event will benefit the Bowery Mission as well as a fully matched donation to Elevate NY. It feels good to be part of such a wonderful group of people. Investing your time into helping others help themselves is so significant, it’s a lifelong investment in them as people.
What are you never without?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: My phone. These days communication is everything, and with so many things happening so fast, I always have my phone on hand. It’s an addiction I know, but it’s my guilty pleasure. It keeps me going, social media is a rush, seeing my artists get feedback is such a invigorating, validating feeling about what I’m building.
Can you share your two favorite quotes with us?
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been concealed by the answers.” – James Baldwin
What inspires you?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Influence and fame is something I find motivating. There’s something remarkable about how widespread an effect just a small handful of people have. Being the source of dramatic change in the art world is something I strive for.
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: I feel really invested in giving kids greater access to art education. It’s something I’m passionate about, fostering young creative minds – the next generation of groundbreaking artists. Elevate NY is a foundation I work closely with, and they’re doing really valuable work teaching underprivileged kids the skills they need to become success stories themselves.
Hoerle-Guggenheim has plenty of advice for personal art collectors, but his No. 1 tip with those who want to being buying pieces for their home is simple. Anyone can purchase artwork, and finding the right piece is down to a personal connection rather than any other reason.
If someone wants to start a personal art collection, what is your No. 1 tip?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: In starting a personal art collection, the most important thing is finding work which speaks to you. Art is something to be experienced and reveled in. The works should be something you feel passionate about; or not even passion specifically, it could be another strong feeling, a feeling of nostalgia, or of inspiration. Art which speaks to something deeper inside you.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM: Someday, I hope to write a book. Spending my days around so many creative people, I hope to add something of my own to the world.
The HG Contemporary Art Gallery has quickly made a name for itself in New York City’s art scene. But it isn’t just the city that never sleeps that Hoerle-Guggenheim wants to conquer. In June, he will open the HG Madrid and take his cutting-edge art gallery and unique exhibitions to a whole new audience in Europe.
In just four short years, Hoerle-Guggenheim has turned his love of art and quaint art gallery into one of best new venues for artists to show off their work. With a new gallery opening soon, the sky’s the limit for Hoerle-Guggenheim and his contemporary art galleries.
527 W 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011
P. 212-366-4490 F. 212-366-4481
By Drew Farmer
Images credit Raphael Mazzucco