The Guerrilla Girls Are Targeting MoMA Trustees Tied to Jeffrey Epstein With an Ad on a Phone Booth Outside the Museum
The ad calls out board members Leon Black and Glenn Dubin.
The Guerrilla Girls have installed an advertisement outside the Museum of Modern Art in New York to send a powerful message to the institution about its trustees who had close links to the convicted sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein.
“MoMA should kick Leon Black & Glenn Dubin off its Board immediately, drape the Black & Durbin Galleries in black, & put up wall labels explaining why,” reads the ad on a phone booth opposite the museum. “The Guerilla Girls volunteer to help write those labels.”
The message refers to galleries in the newly expanded museum that are named after Leon Black and Glenn Dubin, two financiers caught up in the Epstein scandal. The advertisement, which appeared over the weekend, was installed in collaboration with the activist group Art in Ad Places.
“We thought the message could be even more powerful in front of the museum,” RJ Rushmore, the cofounder of Art in Ad Places, told Artnet News. “We simply offered to help make that happen. This was an opportunity to amplify the Guerrilla Girls’ message. It will take continued pressure, but we expect MoMA will eventually reach out to the Guerrilla Girls and take them up on their offer. Why not?”
A serial pedophile, Epstein nevertheless associated with some of the world’s richest and most powerful men and women, with high-profile social contacts listed along with over 100 underage victims in his “little black book.”
Among his contacts were Black, now the president of MoMA’s board of trustees. Black employed Epstein as a director of his family foundation until the end of 2012, despite Epstein’s 2008 sex crimes conviction. He was also an investor, along with Epstein, in a company run in part by Black’s children.
According to Bloomberg, Black also invited Epstein “to pitch personal tax strategies” to his firm years after Epstein had been registered as a sex offender. (Black has denied the Bloomberg claim.)
Epstein was also close with Dubin and his wife, Eva Andersson-Dubin, who dated Epstein before marrying her husband in 1994. Even after Epstein’s sex crimes conviction in 2008, he was invited to their home for Thanksgiving dinner the following year, according to Vanity Fair.
Andersson-Dubin even wrote an email to Epstein’s probation officer saying she was “100% comfortable with Jeffrey Epstein around my children,” who were minors at the time.
As of press time, MoMA has not responded to Artnet News inquiries regarding the poster.
Other MoMA board members, such as Laurence D. Fink, who has investments in private prisons, and Steven Tananbaum, who has allegedly profited from Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, have also been the subjects of protests at the museum.
Museum donors and trustees are coming under increased scrutiny after the resignation of Warren Kanders from the board of the Whitney Museum of American art following a prolonged protest campaign.
“We’ve been feeling very inspired by groups like P.A.I.N. and Decolonize This Place, as well as writers like Anand Giridharadas and Edgar Villanueva, all of whom are challenging cultural institutions to rethink philanthropy,” Rushmore, the Art in Ad Places cofounder, told Artnet News. “It seems like maybe, if MoMA is trying to create a safe and comfortable environment for artists and visitors, they should have fewer ties to Jeffrey Epstein.”
Rushmore cofounded Art in Ad Places in 2017 with photographer Luna Park and actor Caroline Caldwell, launching a year-long campaign to replace phone-booth ads with posters by new artists each week. Some artworks have been removed within days, while others have lasted up to six months.
As of Tuesday morning, the Guerrilla Girls advertisement was still in place outside MoMA.
Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.