An Urgent Call to Save the Life of Peter Max
An Urgent Call to Save the Life of Peter Max
Why this petition matters
We are the family and loved ones of 84-year-old artist Peter Max and we are asking for your help to save his life. Peter has been ripped from his family, against his wishes, and is being held in involuntary isolation by a predatory guardianship in New York City. After more than two years of isolation, Peter’s health has steeply declined; he appears to be under 100 pounds; he appears dangerously over-medicated; he is losing his will to live, and we fear for his life. Please sign our open letter below and help us return Peter to the care of his family so he may be surrounded by his loved ones before it's too late.
Peter Max – Pop Artist, 84-year-old devoted and loving father, loyal and compassionate friend, Holocaust survivor, animal and human rights advocate, and a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease – is being kept in forced isolation in a predatory guardianship in New York City. The guardianship has depleted his hard-earned life’s earnings by over $16 million, with millions being paid, without his permission, to the court-appointed guardians and attorneys who now control all aspects of his life.
Since 2019, Peter’s family and friends have been privately waging a legal battle to free Peter from his involuntary isolation at the hands of strangers; restore to him his dignity; and allow him to be surrounded by loved ones at the end of his life. After more than two years of isolation, Peter’s loved ones fear he is losing his will to live. His health has steeply declined; he appears dangerously over-medicated; and his family and friends fear for his life.
Peter is gentle, loving, and a deeply sensitive man. Everyone close to him knows that he thrives with companionship and suffers without it. Peter was born in Nazi Germany; he escaped with only his parents, with most of his family killed by the Nazis. He grew up as a refugee in Shanghai. The trauma and loss that Peter experienced at a young age has stayed with him throughout his life. Peter arrived in Brooklyn as a teenage immigrant with a hope for the American dream and a love for freedom. The beauty in his art was his answer to the war.
Can you imagine having dedicated your entire life to nurturing a family, a successful career, and many deep, loving, and lasting relationships, only to find yourself, at the hands of a complete stranger, a court-appointed guardian:
- being held in forced isolation nearly 24 hours a day;
- being forbidden from seeing your loved ones (including your own children) unless they lodge a formal written request, and, when you are permitted to see them, visits are severely time limited, closely surveilled, and reported on;
- being prohibited from having any visitors, ever, in your own home (including your children), which had for decades been a hive of bustling activity filled with love and laughter;
- being forbidden from being cared for by your children, notwithstanding your articulated desire to be cared for by them at the end of your life, just as you cared for your parents at the end of theirs;
- having your phone confiscated so you cannot make any calls, and having to ask permission to use your own phone to call your own children;
- having all of your medical decisions made by a for-profit and unfamiliar court-appointed guardian (a lawyer) who has no medical or geriatric training, and having all your medical information withheld from your family, despite the fact that you had named your children in your Health Care Proxy;
- having your beloved rescued cats cruelly taken away from you, never mind that you were deeply attached to them and had enjoyed the company of animals in your home for over 60 years;
- being surveilled in your own home 24 hours a day through cameras recording both audio and visual with a direct feed to a court-appointed guardian’s cell phone, so that the lonely, disorienting life that has been forced on you can be constantly observed, in violation of your privacy rights and civil liberties;
- being restricted from going to your own art studio, the very place you created and where your self- expression flourished for decades;
- having your life-long friends being required to sign a daunting non-disclosure agreement before they are even allowed to speak to you, and, when you are permitted to speak to them, you are forced to hang up mid-conversation;
- repeatedly asking for the companionship of your family and friends, only for your court-appointed guardian to ignore your pleas;
- having your existing legal and estate planning documents voided;
- being prohibited from speaking to your long-time attorney, and having counsel thrust upon you that you did not choose;
- and having your hard-earned financial assets liquidated for the benefit of court-appointed strangers.
It took a beautiful imagination to create Peter’s artistic world of color, joy, happiness, and love. It took a lifetime of hard work to achieve his personal success, with the independence and security that success gave him. What right does anyone have to take all of that away?
The guardianship of Peter Max has descended into captivity, where protection in theory has become exploitation in practice; a case study of just how much can go wrong when the vast powers of the State are turned against the interests of the person those powers are meant to protect. It is a textbook example of a predatory guardianship: Isolate; Medicate; Steal the Estate.
Peter and his family have been denied the most essential Constitutional right to familial privacy – the right of the family to remain together without the coercive interference of the awesome power of the State.
Peter’s final wishes are being ignored and his most fundamental Constitutional and Human Rights violated.
We, the undersigned, ask that Peter Max’s unnecessary and unjust guardianship end so that Peter can be returned to the care of his family, as he has been pleading for since 2019, and so that he can receive an immediate and critical medical evaluation.
We stand in solidarity with the millions of victims of guardianship abuse and their families.