Agnes Gund has been the president of the Museum of Modern Art since 1991. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, her mother used to take her to Saturday morning art classes at the Cleveland Museum. Her father was George Gund, Jr. and was the president of the Cleveland Trust Company for twenty-five years and he made his fortune in many areas. His legacy lives on as the George Gund Foundation, which is one of the most important foundations for northeast Ohio, particularly for the arts, the environment, and education. The foundation was one of the earliest and most generous founders at the outset of the AIDS crisis.
Ms. Gund was elected a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in 1976. In 1977, after New York City budget cuts eliminated art classes in the public schools she founded the Studio in a School Association. It brought artists to New York City public schools to help children develop their own sense of art at an early age. The program even helped raise the reading scores of the students.
She was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 1997. In recognizing Gund, the president said, “We can’t celebrate art today without celebrating the people who help us experience it. Aggie Gund has spent a lifetime bringing art into the lives of the American people.”
She is Chairman of Mayor Bloomberg’s Cultural Affairs advisory Commission in New York and a member of numerous charitable trusts, including the Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia), J. Paul Getty Trust (Los Angeles), The Menil Collection (Houston), and the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, NY.
In the UK, Ms. Gund is a supporter of the Tate and Serpentine galleries, as well as the British Museum and the Royal Academy trust.
She has shown her affinity to Andrew Carnegie, as her quote attests: “I think everyone is proud of they can leave their children better off than they were. But there’s a difference between better off and hugely wealthy. I don’t think anyone needs to make huge amounts of money or inherit huge amounts of money without giving to the public good.”