Leon Black is In Talks With Board Members to Step Down as Chairman of the MoMA

Black also vacated his seat at Apollo Global Management this year after it was revealed he once paid Jeffrey Epstein $158 million.

Black in 2007. (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Leon Black on May 15, 2007 in New York City. Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Convicted sex offender, pedophile and high society impressario Jeffrey Epstein died in jail in 2019, but the reverberations emanating from questions about how deeply his peers were involved in his nefarious activities are still being felt. In February, Leon D. Black, the chairman of the Museum of Modern Arts, stepped down from his role as chief executive of the powerful global equity firm Apollo Global Management after it was revealed that Black had once paid $158 million to Epstein. Now, the New York Post is reporting that trustees of the MoMA have been having ongoing conversations with Black about his future at the museum.

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According to the Post, a number of these trustees have expressed to Black that when his term ends on July 1st of this year, he should permanently step down as chairman. Muddying the waters is the question of whether Black would remain on the museum’s board, where he has occupied a spot since 1997; another factor is the fact that Black is the owner of a spectacular personal art collection that includes Edvard Munch’s The Scream and the Raphael drawing Head of a Young Apostle. While it may seem trivial compared to the horrors of potential affiliation with Epstein’s crimes, a source told the Post that there are concerns that if Black is ejected from the MoMA’s board, he’ll no longer be willing to give the museum access to his collection.

It’s certain that this potential concern is of little to no importance to activists and artists like the Guerrilla Girls, who’ve in the past called for both the exit of Black and board member Glenn Dubin from the MoMA. The Guerrilla Girls have also previously cancelled a book contract with Phaidon Press due to its links to Epstein; Leon Black has owned Phaidon Press since 2012.

Leon Black is In Talks With Board Members to Step Down as Chairman of the MoMA