The Museum of Modern Art in New York has named Leon Black the new chair of its board of trustees. Jerry I. Speyer had held the position since 2007 and will now become chairman emeritus. Black starts in the new role on July 1.
Black—who, along with his wife, Debra, has appeared on ARTnews’s “Top 200 Collectors” list each year since 1998—is the founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
Over the years, he has been known to make major purchases at auction for his art collection. In 2012, he and Debra were revealed as the buyers of a version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, which they purchased at Sotheby’s for $119.9 million, at the time making it the most expensive work ever sold at auction. They subsequently loaned it for display at MoMA.
And in 2016, amid a legal battle with the Qatari royal family, Black was declared the rightful owner of a Pablo Picasso bust. (Speaking of big purchases, the New York Post reported last month that the billionaire has been looking into buying Tronc, the publishing giant that owns the New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune.)
“MoMA is an exceptional museum and civic institution with an unparalleled collection of art and a deep commitment to welcome and inspire visitors from New York and around the world,” Black said in a statement. “It is a pleasure and honor to continue my work with one of the world’s premier Boards and museums in this new leadership capacity.
Also announced today was news that Ronnie Heyman will now be the president of MoMA’s board. (Heyman and her late husband, Samuel, appeared on the “Top 200” list each year between 1999 and 2009.) She takes the reins from Marie-Josée Kravis, who had held that position since 2005 and who will now be president emerita—a status also held by Agnes Gund and Donald B. Marron. Heyman first joined MoMA’s board in 2014 and was previously chairman of the museum’s Committee on Painting and Sculpture.
“Leon Black and Ronnie Heyman continue this tradition of visionary leadership with their passion for modern and contemporary art, strategic planning and financial expertise, and deep understanding of the Museum and its mission,” Glenn Lowry, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “We all look forward to working with them in the coming years.”