Protesters Crash MoMA Gala Over Board Chair’s Fossil Fuel Ties

Climate activists gathered outdoors New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) throughout its annual “Party in the Garden” fundraiser tonight, June 6, in protest of Board Chair Marie-Josée Kravis’s ties to the fossil gas trade. Her husband, Henry Kravis, co-founded the Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) non-public fairness agency, which has invested billions of {dollars} in oil and gasoline corporations.

A bunch of round 15 activists known as for Marie-Josée Kravis’s quick elimination, chanting “Hey MoMA, drop Kravis!” and “Hey MoMA, get off it; the people over profit!” Kravis has been a MoMA trustee since 1994 and have become board chair in 2021, when she changed embattled former chairman Leon Black. Tonight’s protesters represented advocacy organizations together with Climate Organizing Hub, New York Communities for Change, Reclaim Our Tomorrow, Strong Economy for All, and Stop the Money Pipeline.

The activists famous that KKR additionally has a majority stake within the Canadian Coastal GasHyperlink Pipeline that has spurred human rights concerns: At the mission’s inception, the corporate was accused of disregarding the sovereignty of the Indigenous Wet’suwet’en Nation. (A spokesperson instructed Hyperallergic that Coastal GasHyperlink “has agreements in place with all 20 elected Indigenous communities along the project corridor, including Wet’suwet’en communities” and that 17 nations signed onto a 10% fairness settlement.)

One of the indicators featured a picture of Ed Ruscha’s “Burning Gas Station” (1968), an outline of Standard Oil pumps going up in flames.

Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis have given tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars} to MoMA, and in 2019, the museum named its new performance space the “Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio.” The billionaire couple has additionally donated thousands and thousands to conservative political causes. Henry Kravis gave $300,000 to the Republican National Committee (RNC) in 2016 and he and Marie-Josée each donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee in 2017. (Henry Kravis reportedly didn’t donate to the RNC or Trump in 2020.) Marie-Josée Kravis served as vice chair of the conservative suppose tank Hudson Institute, the place she labored as govt director from 1976 to 1994.

The air was thick with smoke from the wildfires presently raging in Canada. As well-heeled friends entered the museum doorways, activists held up a banner that learn “MoMA, Drop Kravis” in entrance of a scaled-down oil rig that includes a picture of Ed Ruscha’s “Burning Gas Station” (1968), an outline of Standard Oil pumps going up in flames. Ruscha is amongst 4 honorees of this yr’s gala. (The museum can be honoring artist Barbara Chase-Riboud, present MoMA vice chair and former banking govt Marlene Hess, and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.)

“Henry Kravis, shame on you, we deserve a future too,” the group chanted throughout tonight’s protest. “We need clean air, not another billionaire.”

Pete Sikora, local weather marketing campaign director for New York Communities for Change, handed flyers to arriving friends. A QR code on the flyer led to an open letter and petition titled “MoMA: Drop Climate Criminal Kravis.” 

“MoMA can’t claim to take the money and then not have any responsibility for what it’s enabling,” Sikora instructed Hyperallergic.

The air was thick with smoke from the wildfires presently raging in Canada.

After round an hour on the museum’s important entrance, the activists moved to the again of the museum, the place the friends had congregated within the courtyard. They continued their chants by way of the slatted gates. Museum workers positioned a display screen on the opposite facet of the gate, obstructing the protesters’ view of the friends. A bunch of round 12 policemen gathered close to the activists, who raised their makeshift “oil rig” above the height of the fence for the friends to see.

In addition to its Coastal GasHyperlink funding, KKR can be deeply tied to fossil gas initiatives on the Gulf Coast. The non-public fairness big funneled billions of {dollars} into Sempra, an organization building a $13 billion facility for liquified pure gasoline (KKR can have a 25-49% stake within the mission) and has billions of {dollars} in different fossil gas corporations as effectively.

Activists accuse the corporate of paying lip service to a promise of sustainability whereas continuing to invest in fossil fuels.

“There’s lots of things they have said about trying to be sustainable,” stated Climate Organizing Hub’s director Jonathan Westin. “But the proof is about where they’re putting their money.” Activists from Climate Organizing Hub and New York Communities for Change additionally protested outdoors KKR’s Manhattan headquarters in April.

Activists raised a makeshift “oil rig” above the height of the fence for the friends to see.

Climate activists have taken a more in-depth have a look at the non-public fairness trade over the last year. As different giant monetary companies have backed off from oil and gasoline investments, many non-public fairness corporations have dug of their heels. A September 2022 report by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project and Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund discovered that the 10 largest non-public fairness corporations (KKR amongst them) had 80% of their vitality investments in fossil fuels.

In response to Hyperallergic’s request for remark, a KKR spokesperson stated that the corporate stands by the claims made in its sustainability report. “We are focused on investing in a sustainable energy transition that supports a shift to clean energy while recognizing the ongoing importance of supplying the conventional energy needed for well-being, security and economic growth,” the spokesperson stated. “To achieve these goals, we invest in a diverse range of energy sources, including renewable energy and conventional energy.”

The activists moved to the again of the museum, the place the friends had congregated within the courtyard.

Tuesday night time was not the primary time activists have descended upon the Party within the Garden gala. At final yr’s occasion, union organizers decried the museum’s choice to honor Starbucks chairwoman Mellody Hobson, whom they accused of union busting. In 2018, MoMA workers members rallied for a good contract, and in 2015, employees protested the museum’s healthcare cuts. 

Scrutiny of MoMA’s board members and sources of funding has ramped up over the previous three years. In 2020, artists and activists launched the 10-week Strike MoMA marketing campaign in protest of trustees’ unethical monetary ties. At the highest stage, MoMA’s then-board chair Leon Black was related to each navy contractor Blackwater and convicted intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein. Black gave Epstein $158 million between 2012 and 2017 — after Epstein had pled guilty for soliciting prostitution from a minor in 2008.

“It doesn’t add up — the image of what museums portray themselves to be and the people’s names they’re putting on their wings,” Westin stated. “Museums are promoting all these social justice things and promoting sustainability. At the same time, [MoMA’s] board chair and her husband’s company are putting millions into liquified natural gas.”

The Museum of Modern Art has not responded to Hyperallergic‘s quick request for remark.

Activists handed out flyers to gala attendees.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button