Which Art World Figures Funded Donald Trump’s Inauguration?

Steve Cohen, Steve Wynn, Ken Griffin, and Henry Kravis are among the big donors.

Steven Cohen. Courtesy photographer Billy Farrell, © Patrick McMullan.
Steven Cohen. Courtesy photographer Billy Farrell, © Patrick McMullan.

Top art collector Steve Cohen, whose collection is worth an estimated $1 billion, was a major donor to Donald Trump’s inauguration, handing over $1 million to the January event. Cohen is just one of several major art patrons and collectors whose name appeared in a more than 500-page report disclosed by the Federal Elections Committee on Tuesday, as first reported by The Art Newspaper.

Cohen previously gave a $1 million donation to Chris Christie’s America Leads super-PAC, having told Senator Charles Schumer, “There’s no way I can support what [Democrats] are doing.”

As TAN points out, during this election, there was no limit on the amount of money individuals were allowed to give to the inauguration. Other high-profile art world figures whose names appear in the report as donors to the sparsely-attended event include: Henry Kravis, who is married to MoMA’s president Marie-Josée Kravis and gave $1 million; casino and Ultimate Fighting Championship magnate Frank Fertitta (who recently settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit related to the Knoedler forgery scandal over his purchase of a fake Mark Rothko), who gave $207,000; Steve Wynn’s Wynn Resorts, which gave over $700,000; and Chicago collector and hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin, who gave $100,000.

Other donations came from art patrons including Hushang Ansary, former Iranian ambassador to the US who helped back the new Islamic art collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He and his wife, Shahia, reportedly gave $2 million. Hedge fund manager and philanthropist Paul Singer, who partnered with the Museum of the Bible to launch an initiative to bring college students to Israel, gave $1 million.

TAN reports that the inauguration’s corporate donors included Bank Of America, which gave $1 million. Through its Museums on Us initiative, the bank sponsors free admission to institutions around the country.


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