Protesters Hit MoMA Again, Demanding Museum Drop Its Board Chair

Red confetti rained down on the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) today, February 14, as around 20 climate protesters called on the institution to oust Board Chair Marie-Josée Kravis, whose husband co-founded the Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) private equity firm that has invested billions of dollars in oil and gas projects. 

The activists discreetly entered the museum around noon. At 12:20pm, they unfurled banners bearing the words “MoMA Drop KKR” and unzipped their jackets to reveal white t-shirts printed with “MoMA Dump Kravis” in red lettering. They distributed eye-catching leaflets featuring a Roy Lichtenstein image of a woman crying with a speech bubble that read, “Our planet is drowning! Why won’t MoMA dump billionaire climate criminals?” 

“This Valentine’s Day, we’re calling on MoMA to dump Kravis,” the pamphlet read. The Kravises have donated tens of millions of dollars to the Midtown institution and the name adorns the museum’s new performance space.

Protesters on upper floors dispersed shiny red confetti, which fluttered to the museum’s ground floor in a distinctly Valentine’s Day-themed display. Security quickly cleared the lobby. Museumgoers initially captured photos and videos of the protesters from the stairs surrounding the atrium, but MoMA staff soon restricted access to the space.

Today’s protest is the latest in a string of recent actions at MoMA pressing the museum to separate itself from individuals connected to the climate crisis, military weapons manufacturing, and more. Last Saturday, more than 500 activists staged a protest in the museum’s atrium denouncing trustees’ alleged financial ties to Israel. Calls for change have also come from within the museum. Yesterday, a group of workers released a letter demanding that the institution voice its support for an “unconditional ceasefire” in Palestine.

The Climate Organizing Hub, Climate Defenders, New York Communities for Change, and Planet Over Profit led today’s action. The groups have staged previous protests at MoMA in demand of Kravis’s exit, most notably last September, when 16 protesters were arrested for remaining inside the institution for three and a half hours after it closed to the public. The organizations also played pivotal roles in last summer’s Climate Week protests, in which tens of thousands of activists marched through New York City in demand of fossil fuel divestment. 

Climate protesters have paid increasing attention to the private equity sector in recent years, after it came to light that companies such as KKR were investing heavily in fossil fuel initiatives. 

Marie-Josée Kravis became the museum’s board chair in 2021, replacing the disgraced financier Leon Black, who stepped down after details of his connections to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein emerged. Black has been accused of sexual abuse by multiple women, claims he denies, and remains a museum trustee.

“MoMA is an institution that claims to lead the cultural progress of our society,” protester Roni Zahavi-Brunner, a 24-year-old graduate student living in Brooklyn, told Hyperallergic. “That’s how they see themselves — that’s how they want people around and New Yorkers to see them. And if that’s true, that means that they also have to actually lead on climate and actually follow what they’re saying.”

MoMA has not responded to Hyperallergic‘s request for comment.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top