What has been rumored for a year has now been confirmed: collector Raymond J. McGuire, who serves as the chairman of the Studio Museum in Harlem, said on Thursday that he would seek the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City.
McGuire, who is also a trustee of the Whitney Museum in New York, is known in the art world for his impressive and substantial collection of African-American and African contemporary art, which includes work by some of today’s most important artists, including Glenn Ligon, Carrie Mae Weems, Malick Sidibé, Gary Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Derrick Adams, as well as historical ones like Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Charles Alston, Elizabeth Catlett, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Roy DeCarava. He has ranked on ARTnews’s Top 200 Collectors list each year since 2014.
As a vice chairman of Citigroup, McGuire has been one of the highest-ranking Black executives on Wall Street for several years; he will depart his post as part of his candidacy. Jeffrey C. Mays reported in the New York Times that McGuire’s run is supported by local business leaders who have looked for a candidate able to keep the city financially solvent amid the coronavirus pandemic. (The city expects a loss of at least $9 billion in tax revenue over the next two fiscal years.)
“New York gave me the opportunity to be enormously successful,” McGuire told the Times. “Now New York is in a financial crisis that has exploded into a whole bunch of crises—educational, health and criminal justice. If there is a moment in history where my skill set can help lead, this is it.”
The New York City primaries for mayor will be held next June, and McGuire will be up against a large pool of candidates, including city comptroller Scott M. Stringer, former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Brooklyn councilman Carlos Menchaca, Maya Wiley, among others.