With Leon Black set to step down amid controversy over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the Museum of Modern Art in New York has named Marie-Josée Kravis as its next board chair. She will begin on July 1, when Black’s term ends. The museum also announced on Tuesday that Ronnie Heyman had been re-elected for a second term as president.
The New York Times reported in March that Black would not seek re-election after one term as MoMA chair. Various outlets, including the Daily Beast and the New York Post, reported that MoMA trustees had been seeking his removal after it was revealed that Black had given $158 million to Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted on sex trafficking charges involving minors and died by suicide while in jail in 2019.
Kravis has been on the MoMA board since 1994, and with her husband Henry, she has been a key player at the museum in recent years. From 2005 to 2018, she was president of the board, and she has also served on various committees, including ones devoted to painting and sculpture acquisitions, the International Council, and MoMA’s executive committee.
The Kravises, who have appeared on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list each year since 1999, have also supported the museum through key promised gifts. In 2005, the Kravises gave MoMA a 1948 Henri Matisse painting valued at $25 million, and in 2015, they gifted the museum Jasper Johns’s Painted Bronze (1960), a sculpture featuring a group of paintbrushes in a Savarin coffee can.
“A respected leader, philanthropist, and collector, Mrs. Kravis has long supported the Museum’s mission to champion the important role of art in our lives,” a MoMA spokesperson said in a statement.
Kravis got her start as an economist working in Canada, and in 2007, the New York Times called her “a pillar of New York society” with connections to a number of powerful businesspeople in the city. She previously sat on the board of the Federal Reserve in New York. A touted annual prize for emerging musicians, administered by the New York Philharmonic, also bears her name.