Search underway for new Queens Museum director after outspoken former boss resigned

Queens Museum
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A highly outspoken Flushing museum director stepped down from her position last week.

Laura Raicovich, who served as the president and executive director of the Queens Museum for the last three years, resigned on Jan. 26. According to Mark Coleman, the museum’s chairperson, the search for a successor will begin immediately.

Following the announcement, Raicovich told The New York Times she felt her vision and the board’s “weren’t in enough alignment” to accomplish her goals for arts and culture.

QNS file photo/Laura Raicovich
QNS file photo/Laura Raicovich

The former director maintained a regular presence on Twitter, where she is outspoken about her political beliefs. Queens Museum was also one of a few art institutions throughout the country that closed on Jan. 20, the day of President Trump’s inauguration. The building was instead open to the community for two hours for “Sign of the Times,” an event where visitors were invited to make posters, buttons, signs and banners to be used in marches or protests.

Raicovich also made headlines in August 2017 after canceling plans to hold a celebration of the State of Israel’s 70th anniversary at the Museum. Though the event was re-booked the following day, Raicovich faced strong criticism from the community for the initial move. Queens lawmakers Councilman Rory Lancman and the late Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz called for Raicovich to be immediately removed, citing the cancellation as “a clear example of anti-Semitism” and “a disgrace and a violation of law.”

Museum chairperson Mark Coleman announced Raicovich’s resignation through a prepared statement, in which he credited the former leader with producing “several popular and critically acclaimed exhibitions” and doubling the museum’s fundraising capacity.

“Laura brought a vitality and dynamism to her work, and was fearless in exploring new ideas and perspectives through art,” Coleman said.

Prior to her tenure at the Queens Museum, Raicovich served as director of global initiatives at nonprofit group Creative Time, an arts advocacy organization. At Queens Museum, she was preceded by Tom Finkelpearl, who left the post after being appointed the city’s commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014.

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