Vandals Target Home of Brooklyn Museum Director Anne Pasternak

The residences of the museum's president and two trustees were also targeted.

Anne Pasternak at the 2024 Brooklyn Artists Ball at Brooklyn Museum, 2024. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Dior.

A group of five vandals defaced the home of Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak and other museum board members in the early hours of Wednesday morning, June 12, according to reports that cited the act as it was caught on a security camera.

The vandals hung a banner across the front entrance of Pasternak’s co-op building that read: “Anne Pasternak / Brooklyn Museum / White-Supremacist Zionist.” The banner also bore handprints in red paint, and the term “Funds Genocide” repeated across the bottom of the banner. On the ground “Blood on Your Hands” was painted out in block letters.

The facade of the buildings was splattered with red paint and included inverted red triangles, a symbol Hamas has used in videos to identify Israeli military targets. Of late, it has been seen at pro-Palestine protests.

As of press time, the New York Police Department told Artnet News the incident is still under investigation. According to the New York Daily News, the police has released surveillance footage of the five perpetrators and reportedly labeled the incident a hate crime.

Taylor Maatman, head of press at the Brooklyn Museum, confirmed that the homes of two trustees, as well as the museum’s president and COO Kimberly Panicek Trueblood, were also targeted.

Maatman shared a statement from the museum: “We are deeply troubled by these horrible acts targeting leaders connected to the museum. For two centuries, the Brooklyn Museum has worked to foster mutual understanding through art and culture, and we have always supported peaceful protest and open, respectful dialogue. Violence, vandalism, and intimidation have no place in that discourse.”

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) also issued a statement: “We, the members of AAMD, unequivocally and forcefully condemn this antisemitic act. As cultural leaders—and also as people of different backgrounds and experiences—we understand the emotion and anger the Israel-Hamas war has wrought. This, however, does not mean that protestors have unencumbered rights to attack individual persons in pursuit of their cause. Whether at someone’s home or at a museum, this behavior is inexcusable. It does tremendous disservice to discourse and conflict resolution, and the ends simply do not justify the means. We hope that the authorities will pursue and prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”

A number of New York City politicians and elected officials took to X to condemn the acts of vandalism.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams tweeted: “ This is not peaceful protest or free speech. This is a crime, and it’s overt, unacceptable antisemitism. These actions will never be tolerated in New York City for any reason. I’m sorry to Anne Pasternak and members of @brooklynmuseum ‘s board who woke up to hatred like this.”

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Robert Carroll posted: “The vandals who targeted Anne Pasternak’s home are vile and anti-Semitic.”

Four protestors, one waving a Palestinian flag, standing on the glass roof at the Brooklyn Museum in New York

Demonstrators from the Within Our Lifetime protest group at the Brooklyn Museum in New York on May 31, 2024. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

On May 31, pro-Palestinian protestors took over parts of the Brooklyn Museum to call on it to divest from companies with ties to Israel’s military. Demonstrators hung a banner over the main entrance, while occupying a major portion of the building lobby and clashing with police. Deborah Kass’s sculpture, OY/YO, installed outside the institution, was also tagged with graffiti. The museum closed an hour earlier than usual as a result.

A total of 34 people were arrested by the NYPD, according to reports.

As Artnet News reported a few months ago, many major museums are grappling with the issue of how to respond adequately to public protests and staff demands calling for support of Palestine. These have included the Metropolitan Museum, Museum of Modern Art, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York, as well as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

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