Art collectors and museum patrons among the biggest donors to Trump’s inauguration



(author’s illustration for Hyperallergic)

Although the art world has maintained a rather antagonistic stance towards the 45th US President, collectors and members of the museum’s board of trustees feature prominently among those who helped Donald Trump raise $ 106.7 million. dollars for her uncrowded inauguration. According to a 510-page report in donations to Trump’s inaugural committee released Tuesday by the Federal Elections Committee, billionaire art collector and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) board member Steven A. Cohen as well as Henry Kravis – whose wife, Marie-Josée Kravis, is the president of MoMA – both donated $ 1 million. Unlike campaign contributions, which are capped, there is no limit to the amount that can be donated to a candidate’s nomination committee.

The largest individual contribution came from the Vegas casino mogul and major GOP supporter Sheldon Adelson – who is also a big donor to Yad Vashem in Israel, by funding the creation of the Holocaust Art Museum there; he donated $ 5 million to the Trump nomination. Another Vegas mogul, Frank Fertitta – who once bought a fake Mark Rothko painting from the Knoedler Gallery – donated $ 207,000. Hedge fund manager John Paulson, who is a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s President’s Circle and once donated $ 100 million at Central Park Conservancy, contributed $ 250,000 to Trump’s nomination. Former Iranian Ambassador to the United States, Hushang Ansary, and his wife, Sashla – who, as The Art journal underline, helped fund the Houston Museum of Fine Arts Islamic art department – donated a total of $ 2 million.

Among the corporate donors are several companies that have ties to art in one form or another. Bank of America, which provides grants for art conservation projects and free entry via its Museums about us program, injected $ 1 million. Wynn Resorts of Las Vegas, whose CEO, Steve wynn, is an avid art collector, has contributed $ 729,217. Walmart, whose founders, the Waltons, established the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, donated $ 150,000. Internet giant Google, whose artistic initiatives include the Google Cultural Institute, donated a total of $ 285,000. Online retailer Amazon, which has made several forays into the online art market with mixed results, contributed $ 57,746.13. The Mars Inc. candy company, which once donated $ 5 million to the Smithsonian Institution, was considerably less generous to Trump: he paid $ 1,827.46 for his nomination.

Trump’s $ 106.7 million donations set a new record, double the roughly $ 53 million Obama raised for his inauguration in 2009, which at the time was the highest ever raised by an inaugural committee.

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