Hedge Fund Billionaire Steve Cohen Donates $50 Million to New York’s Museum of Modern Art

The unrestricted gift will fund the museum's expansion project.

Steve Cohen. Photo: Patrick McMullan/PatrickMcMullan.com ==

The billionaire hedge fund manager Steve Cohen and his wife Alexandra Cohen donated $50 million to boost the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)’s planned expansion and renovation. The unrestricted gift to the $400 million capital campaign, made through the couple’s foundation, was announced on Tuesday.

To commemorate the donation, the museum will name the special exhibitions gallery on its sixth floor—its largest contiguous space—the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center for Special Exhibitions.

Cohen has been a longtime supporter of MoMA—he joined the board last year—but this gift is far larger than his foundation’s previous donations. The foundation gave $1.56 million to the museum in 2015, according to its most recent tax filings. (Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital—now Point72—is on track to launch a new $20 billion fund next year, after his firm was temporarily barred from managing outside funds as part of an insider trading case.)

“This gift will have an extraordinary impact on our ability to present exhibitions at a scale that is virtually unprecedented,” MoMA’s director Glenn Lowry said. In a statement, the museum said that the newly named Cohen Center will offer vast open spaces and an adaptable floor plan well suited to large-scale exhibitions.

When complete in 2019, MoMA’s overhaul will add an additional 50,000 square feet of gallery space to the museum, as well as a number of new public spaces and a multimedia studio. Earlier this month, the museum announced it had raised enough money to cover construction and was focusing on growing its endowment. Last April, the music magnate David Geffen donated $100 million to the expansion.

“Alex and I have always believed that the arts can, and should, enrich all people’s lives,” Cohen said in a statement. “We are excited to see how this gift and the Cohen Center will allow the museum to bring new and even greater artistic experiences to visitors.”

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