Marie-Josée Kravis to replace Leon Black as MoMA board chairman after activist campaign slashes his chances of re-election
After months of mounting pressure and official news that struggling Museum of Modern Art board chairman Leon Black would not seek re-election, the board unanimously elected the former chairman longtime Marie-Josée Kravis to replace him.
Kravis has a long history with the museum, having been a member of the board since 1994. She was president from 2005 to 2018, and was an active member of the executive, finance, capital, painting and sculpture committees, as well as the President’s advice.
“Marie-Josée will be an exceptional president of MoMA,” Leon Black told Artnet News in a statement. “His leadership and love of the arts combined with his strong understanding of finance and philanthropy will be essential to the continued success of MoMA as one of the most important cultural institutions in New York and the world. We are really lucky to have her as our next president, and I will do my best to support her in this role.
Black, who held the post for three years from June 2018, has been criticized for his connections to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in a Brooklyn jail in August 2019.
Investigators found that Black funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable payments and donations to entities associated with Epstein during their friendship.
Although Black agreed to step down from his role as head of his financial assets firm, Apollo, at the end of March, he retained his title at MoMA despite requests from artists, activists and others for he resigns.
At the end of March, Black told his colleagues he would not seek re-election.
When asked if Black would still remain involved with the museum, a MoMA spokesperson confirmed he would remain a trustee.
Just two days ago, the New York Post reported that Black “may have maneuvered to strengthen his influence on the board of directors of Apollo Global Management before the surprise announcement on January 25 of his resignation as CEO.
The report cites “a series of movements that are only now being questioned by some within the company”.
Among these movements was the addition to the company of two independent directors: Siddhartha Mukherjee and Pamela Joyner.
Mukherjee, a physicist and scientist, is married to artist Sarah Sze, who was commissioned by Black and his wife to carry out private commissions.
Joyner, a long-time collector particularly invested in the art of contemporary black artists, recently gave a historic gift to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
MoMA also announced that Ronnie Heyman, former president and director, has been re-elected president.
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