Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
Leon Black, chairman of the Museum of Modern Art board of trustees, will not bid for re-election, according to the New York Times. According to the Times, Black will announce the decision at a meeting on March 30, and intends to remain on the board after stepping down.
Earlier this year, an independent investigation launched by Apollo Global Management, Black’s private equity firm, elucidated the financier’s ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The report by Dechert LLP found that Black had paid Epstein $158 million in tax and estate planning fees between 2012 and 2017. Epstein also offered Black tax avoidance advice, which saved the businessman an estimated $2 billion. The report cleared Black of any wrongdoing, but the investor promptly announced he would step down as CEO of Apollo, effective July 2021, but intended to remain at the company as chairman. Last week, citing health issues, Black also announced he would step down from both roles at Apollo, effective immediately.
MoMA has been under persistent scrutiny by members of the art world who encouraged the institution to oust the billionaire. In February, over 150 artists called on MoMA to remove Black and reconfigure its donor policies in statements signed by Nan Goldin, Xaviera Simmons, Michael Rakowitz, Guerilla Girls, and other figures.
Last week, Hyperallergic published an investigation into a behind-the-scenes controversy at the museum, of which Black was at the center. Artists featured in the MoMA PS1 Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011 exhibition raised attention to Black’s connection to the private security firm Constellis, formerly known as Blackwater. In 2014, four Blackwater staffers were convicted for the murder of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians, some of them children, in Baghdad’s Nisour Square massacre in 2007. Apollo acquired Constellis for approximately $1 billion in 2016.
Artists Michael Rakowitz, Jananne Al-Ani, and Rijin Sahakian voiced concerns with MoMA PS1 leadership after discovering that Constellis was still recruiting security personnel in Iraq, over a decade after it had been prohibited from operating in the nation. They, and other participating artists, say they were disregarded and demeaned after speaking up.
Earlier this week, a coalition of artists announced a 10-week series of protests against the museum. “Whether Black stays or goes, a consensus has emerged: beyond any one board member, MoMA itself is the problem,” read a statement by the International Imagination of Anti-National Anti-Imperialist Feelings. The planned “Ten Weeks of Art, Action, and Conversation” will include training sessions, agitprop campaigns, direct actions at the museum and other locations, and a series of conversations focusing on “collective research, archival investigation, and speculative visioning concerned with post-MoMA futures.”
MoMA has not responded to Hyperallergic’s immediate request for comment.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
In 1850, when Dr. Robert W. Gibbes commissioned J. T. Zealy to make daguerreotypes of persons held in slavery in and around Columbia, South Carolina, for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz to use in support of his theory that African people were a separate species, daguerreotypes were at the height of fashion.
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.