“He’s a prescient collector and a very gifted convener,” Richard Armstrong, the museum’s director, said in a telephone interview. “I think he feels strongly about the role of art inside contemporary civilizations.”
Hill joined the board in 2019, the same year he opened the Hill Art Foundation, a public exhibition and education space in Chelsea. He will become the Guggenheim’s chairman as of Nov. 1, succeeding William L. Mack, who served for 16 years and has been elected chairman emeritus.
“You have to go where your passion lies,” Hill said in an interview, adding that his was in modern and contemporary art. He and his wife, Janine — the director of fellowship affairs at the Council on Foreign Relations — collect several artists in depth, including Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin and Christopher Wool.
They also collect Renaissance and Baroque bronzes as well as old master paintings — Hill was the mysterious buyer of an early-17th-century canvas billed as a rediscovered masterpiece by Caravaggio. (He also serves on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he said he plans to remain.)
Hill, who from 2007 to 2018 served as the vice chairman of the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, said he was firmly committed to the Guggenheim's efforts at “broadening the definition of how we think about showing works.”