Laura Raicovich, the director and president of the Queens Museum in New York, is stepping down from her position after a three-year tenure. Disagreements between Raicovich and the museum’s board have contributed to her decision to leave. “There are so many big things that art and culture have to contend with that are so wrong in the world,” Raicovich told Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times. “That’s where my focus and energy needs to be, and at the end of the day, I just felt that my vision and that of the board weren’t in enough alignment to get that done.”
While Raicovich did not elaborate on her relationship with the museum’s board, she spoke with Pogrebin about a dispute with several board members over a proposal to close the institution on January 20, 2017, in solidarity with the J20 Art Strike, which took place during the inauguration of Donald Trump as the forty-fifth president of the United States. Instead, the museum held a protest poster-making event for members of the community. More recently, the board opposed Raicovich’s idea to make the museum a refuge for immigrants, offering a safe space where people in the community could connect with social services and gain access to other resources.
While at the Queens Museum, Raicovich has been outspoken about her political views, sparking debate around the role of the museum in defending the diverse audiences it represents. When Trump first moved to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, in 2017, she spoke out about the importance of the program. In an interview with the New York Times in October 2017, she said, “I take my leadership very seriouslynot just in a physical and managerial sense. Care and equity has to be part of what I bring to my position.”
In a statement provided to artforum.com, Raicovich said, “I am deeply grateful to the board for the opportunity to imagine the museum as a very vital, convivial, and inviting commons for art, ideas, and civics. I wish the board, staff, and everyone who has participated in the life of the museum well. As the daughter of an immigrant to Queens, the Queens Museum and the borough will always hold a very special place in my heart.”