The MoMA Became the Latest Target of Climate Activists

The MoMA Became the Latest Target of Climate Activists Protesting on Friday Over Institution's Donor Henry Kravis.

Sep 19, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The MoMA
The Museum of Modern Art garden. Via the institution.


The MoMA is the most recent institution that environmental protesters targeted. Overall, several activists gathered around the museum on Friday. They are part of climate organizations, such as Extinction Rebellion and Climate Organizing Hub. The protesters are demanding from New York’s Museum of Modern Art to cut ties with its donor, Henry Kravis and his spouse Marie-Josée.


The MoMA to Drop Kravis – Ed Ruscha Retrospective

climate change strike
A child holds up a sign that reads, “You’ll Die of Old Age I’ll Die of Climate Change”, at the Global Strike for Climate Justice in Toronto, 27 September 2019, via Wikimedia Commons.


Protest actions occurred both inside and outside the museum. Also, the were not focused on one theme or individual, but there were many different actions taking place. Preceding Refik Anadol’s Unsupervised (2022), certain individuals staged a die-in. This is a the well-known AI-based piece of art located in the museum’s atrium. Others carried banners begging MoMA to break up relations with previously mentioned donors.


They donated funds for a number of initiatives there, such as a Studio area for moving-image and theatrical artwork. But, this is not the first “attack” on Kravis. He was always a target of environmental activists because his company (KKR) invested in some questionable projects. For, example in the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline project in Canada. The demonstration on Friday included participation from Wet’suwet’en First Nation members, who’s property by the project affects.


The MoMA
Protestors at MoMA holding signs focused on Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis. PHOTO KEN SCHLES


The activist’s banners resembled pieces by Ed Ruscha, whose artwork is presently the focus of a showcase at MoMA. “MOMA DROP KRAVIS” read one sign. Its phrase overlayed on Ruscha’s well-known painting of a burning Standard Oil petrol pump. That placard seems to refer to Marie-Josée, who is the advisory council head of MoMA at the moment. Also, she’s the MoMA trustee since 1994.

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Minimal Harm to Artworks

The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art. Via Piotr Kuzyk


After Leon Black resigned due to concerns regarding his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein in 2021, she assumed the chair. “We’re disrupting business as usual because we demand MoMa be accountable. Admit the mistake they’ve made and refuse any association with KKR. Marie-Josee Kravis’s presence on the Board is a hideous stain on one of the world’s most significant cultural institutions”, Laura Esther Wolfson, an Extinction Rebellion activist said.


Requests for comment from a MoMA official went unanswered. A KKR spokesperson gave its statement: “committed to investing in a sustainable energy transition, one that supports a shift to a clean energy future while recognizing the ongoing importance of supplying the conventional energy needed for well-being, security and economic growth around the world today”.


Vancouver climate protesters
Photo courtesy of Stop Fracking Around.


With the exception of minimal harm to their surrounds and the supplies used to show them, the artworks the target of these demonstrations largely escaped destruction. However, some people raised concern that this type of demonstration can potentially result in art being altered.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.