Steps away from the Guggenheim and minutes from the Metropolitan Museum, of Art, is Carnegie Hill’s newest gallery. Salon 94 at 3 East 89th Street showcases contemporary cutting-edge art in a historic, landmarked setting. The building was constructed between 1913 and 1915 and designed by architect and designer Ogden Codman Jr, (1863-1951) for wealthy collector Archer M. Huntington (1870-1955).
Codman is best known today for co-authoring with Edith Wharton their influential The Decoration of Houses (1897). Huntington, a prominent philanthropist, established the Hispanic Society Museum & Library in New York City’s Washington Heights. (Its current exhibition Gilded Figures: Wood and Clay Made Flesh has been universally admired.)
The Salon 94 Beaux-Arts building was owned by Huntington until 1940 when it was donated to the National Academy of Design. Gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, who formerly had a gallery in her home on 94th Street, bought the landmarked property in 2019 and restored it with an eye to historic accuracy. “Because Ogden Codman’s architectural archives are preserved at Columbia University, our team was able to follow the original drawings,” says Greenberg Rohatyn. “Working with architect Rafael Viñoly we celebrate that legacy while creating gallery spaces to feature boundary-pushing contemporary art.”
At a time when cultural institutions are rethinking and reformulating their missions to take into account equity and inclusion, Rohatyn is a leader who has always looked at the margins. She has consistently been ahead of the curve showing the work of emerging female artists and artists of color. “It’s my passion and my program,” she says.
Salon 94 is diametrically the opposite to the more stark white box galleries that usually exhibit contemporary art. Here, expect the unexpected. Visitors enter the gallery through a marble and granite porte cochère with a restored herringbone brick paver floor. The second floor Stone Room is a stunning jewel with stately floor-to-ceiling windows,
Doric pilasters, stone walls and a magnificent checkerboard marble floor.
Restoring the Stone Room to its original glory was a painstaking process involving the removal of non-original paint, patching holes, and cleaning stone. “The only significant new gesture in this space are fluted sconces by Max Lamb along with contemporary art lighting,” says Greenberg Rohatyn. The third floor Wood Room with its mahogany panels is another exciting space not-to-be missed along with the knock-out bathroom on the first floor which boasts curvy cobalt-blue tiles from Japan.
A recent group exhibition featured Ruby Neri, Amani Lewis, Alexandre Diop, and Chioma Ebinama.
In the works are new shows featuring Shawanda Corbett, Daniel Hesidence and Celia Vasquez You (opens Jan 19, 2022).
Salon 94 is open for in-person visits which can be arranged
on the website salon94.com.