Last Friday, Laura Raicovich resigned as president and executive director of the Queens Museum, after three years on the job, telling the New York Times, “There are so many big things that art and culture have to contend with that are so wrong in the world . . . that’s where my focus and energy needs to be, and at the end of the day, I just felt that my vision and that of the board weren’t in enough alignment to get that done.”
Yesterday, one of the Queens Museum’s board trustees, Kristian Nammack, a financial services executive who joined the board in October, resigned. In a letter to “friends and colleagues” Nammack writes that his decision was made in opposition to the museum’s hosting of the “current Israeli Delegation to the U.N. who in turn honored Mike Pence last November,” and cites “the human rights abuses of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and of the human rights abuses of Mike Pence and the entire Trump Administration, as warned today in the annual report by Human Rights Watch.” (That report states, “Across a range of issues in 2017, the U.S. moved backward on human rights at home and abroad.”)
Last August, the museum reportedly cancelled an event scheduled for November by the Israel delegation to the United Nations to mark the 70th anniversary of the vote to create Israel. After an outcry that included Israeli and New York officials calling for the ouster of Raicovich, the museum said it would go ahead with the event, which occurred on November 28 and included Vice President Mike Pence saying that the United States was considering moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a decision made by President Trump the next day.
Nammack has a history supporting various causes. He was involved with the AIDS activist group ACT UP in the early 1990s, helped found Occupy Sandy, and is currently principal of the Intentional Endowments Network, which promotes investing practices focused on sustainability and good governance to institutional investors. In his letter he writes, “I stand in solidarity with our Executive Director, Laura Raicovich.” Earlier this week, nearly 40 high-profile arts professionals signed an open letter voicing support for Raicovich.
Nammack’s letter follows in full below.
To my friends and colleagues,
I tendered my resignation yesterday as a Trustee of the Queens Museum, in opposition to their decision to host the current Israeli Delegation to the UN who in turn honored Mike Pence last November.
This action is in opposition to the human rights abuses of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and of the human rights abuses of Mike Pence and the entire Trump Administration, as warned today in the annual report by Human Rights Watch.
I stand in solidarity with our Executive Director, Laura Raicovich, who resigned on Monday.