The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in recent days silently removed Sackler’s name from its art education center, while the National Gallery in London last week erased the surname from Room 34, his gallery. home to iconic British landscape paintings such as 1839 by JMW Turner. The Bold Fighter and John Constable from 1821 The Hay Wain. According to multiple sources, the two institutions presented the dropping of the name as a joint decision, the Tate concluded with the Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, a British charitable interest, and the Guggenheim concluded with the Mortimer D. Sackler family.
The divestitures are the latest in a wave spurred by the Sacklers’ fall from grace amid allegations that family members, through their ties to drugmaker Purdue Pharma, have gotten rich off the relentless trafficking of the powerful and addictive opioid OxyContin. Prior to the scandal, the Sacklers, whose collective personal fortune is estimated at $13 billion, were widely known in the art world as generous philanthropists; Following revelations about Purdue’s dealings and amid an ongoing campaign by advocacy group PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) founded by artist Nan Goldin, members of the Sackler family have been accused of ” “artwashed” profits obtained from the drugmaker via large donations made to museums in return for the naming rights.
A number of institutions had already cleared the tainted name, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Serpentine Galleries in London, the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain; and the Louvre Museum in Paris – just as Purdue reached a $6 billion settlement in March with an eight-state consortium in a series of civil lawsuits claiming the drugmaker engineered the drug crisis. opioids. The terms of this agreement, which state that museums that have accepted Sackler funds may remove the family name from structures, programs, scholarships and endowments provided they give the family forty-five days notice and that they’re not “badging” the Sackler name, will likely encourage further moves.
By shedding all public association with the Sacklers, the National Gallery has become the penultimate major British institution to do so: the distinction of being the last will go to the Victoria & Albert Museum, should it decide to take the plunge. . The institution in 2017 received approximately $9.9 million from the family and houses Sackler Court. In New York, Artnet News notes, the American Museum of Natural History retains the name in connection with its Institute for Comparative Genomics and Educational Laboratory.