Martin Scorsese was the honoree at the Museum of Modern Art’s annual film benefit on Monday evening, but Leon Black was arguably the man of the hour, since the museum announced at the gala that he and his wife Debra had given $40 million to the museum.
In recognition of the gift, MoMA will create the Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center, spanning two floors of the museum’s Ronald S. and Jo Carole Lauder Building, which includes multimedia exhibition galleries and two theaters. The center will present film exhibitions and premieres with directors, actors, and other cinema experts.
Mr. Black, a leading collector, was named chairman of MoMA last spring — having shared the title since 2015 with the real estate mogul Jerry Speyer. His gift will support the museum’s renovation and expansion project, currently underway, which will add 40,000 square feet of gallery space and enable MoMA to reconceive the presentation of its collection and exhibitions.
“As a lifelong lover of film,” Mr. Black said in a statement, “my family and I are honored to have our name associated with the Film Center of this great institution.”