MoMA gets $50m from Steven and Alexandra Cohen for expansion

In recognition of the gift, the New York museum will name its largest new gallery after the collectors


The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation has given the Museum of Modern Art in New York an unrestricted $50m gift. The money will support the museum's on-going expansion and renovation by the architectural firm Diller, Scofidio and Renfro, which is due to be complete in 2019.

In recognition of the gift, the museum will name its largest continuous open gallery, which will occupy the entire sixth floor after the expansion, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center for Special Exhibitions.

“This gift will have an extraordinary impact on our ability to present exhibitions at a scale that is virtually unprecedented," Glenn Lowry, the museum's director, said in a statement. "I am also thrilled to have Steve as a new member of our board of trustees.” Cohen joined the board in June 2016.

The foundation, for which Alexandra serves as the president, was established in 2001. Alongside arts funding, it also puts money in children's health, education and Lyme disease research, among other areas.

Before he became a collector, Cohen founded the hedge fund SAC Capital in 1992, which later came under scrutiny from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. In November 2013, the firm pled guilty to five counts of insider trading violations over the actions of several employees and agreed to pay a $1.2bn fine. Cohen himself was largely untouched by the investigation, and in 2016 reached a settlement with the SEC over charges of failure to prevent insider trading that bars him from managing outside investors’ money for two years.