Marie-Josée Kravis Will Replace Leon Black as MoMA Board Chair After an Activist Campaign Nixed His Reelection Chances

Black will remain involved with the museum as a trustee.

Marie-Josée Kravis and Henry Kravis at MoMA in 2018. Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

After months of mounting pressure and official news that embattled Museum of Modern Art board chair Leon Black would not seek re-election, the board has unanimously elected former longtime president Marie-Josée Kravis to replace him.

Kravis has a long history with the museum, having been a board member since 1994. She served as president from 2005 to 2018, and has been an active member of the executive, finance, capital, and painting and sculpture committees, as well as the chairman’s council.

“Marie-Josée will be an outstanding chairperson of MoMA,” Leon Black told Artnet News in a statement. “Her leadership and love of the arts combined with her sound understanding of finance and philanthropy will be critical to the continued success of MoMA as one of New York’s and the world’s most important cultural institutions. We are truly fortunate to have her as the next chairperson, and I’ll do all that I can to support her in this role.”

Black, who held the position for three years starting in June 2018, came under fire for his ties to convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide in a Brooklyn jail in August 2019.

Investigators discovered that Black funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in payments and charitable donations to entities associated with Epstein over the course of their friendship.

Though Black agreed to step back from his role as head of his financial asset firm, Apollo, in late March, he retained his title at MoMA despite demands from artists, activists and others that he resign.

In late March, Black told colleagues he would not seek re-election.

Asked if Black will still remain involved with the museum, a MoMA spokesperson confirmed he would stay on as a trustee.

Just two days ago, the New York Post reported that Black “may have maneuvered to enhance his clout on the board of Apollo Global Management ahead of a surprise January 25 announcement that he was stepping down as CEO.”

The report cited “a series of moves that are only now being questioned by some within the company.”

Among those moves 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, whom has been commissioned by Black and his wife to execute private commissions.

Joyner, a longtime collector who is especially invested in art by contemporary Black artists, recently gave a landmark gift to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

MoMA also announced that Ronnie Heyman, formerly president and a trustee, has been re-elected president.

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