facility:arthur m. sackler gallery

  • Sackler family money is now unwelcome at three major museums. Will others follow? - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/two-major-museums-are-turning-down-sackler-donations-will-others-follow/2019/03/22/20aa6368-4cb9-11e9-9663-00ac73f49662_story.html

    By Philip Kennicott
    Art and architecture critic
    March 23

    When the National Portrait Gallery in London announced Tuesday that it was forgoing a grant from the Sackler family, observers could be forgiven for a certain degree of skepticism about the decision’s impact on the art world. The Sacklers, owners of the pharmaceutical behemoth Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, had promised $1.3 million to support a public-engagement project. The money, no doubt, was welcome, but the amount involved was a relative pittance.

    Now another British institution and a major U.S. museum, the Guggenheim, have said no to Sackler money, which has become synonymous with a deadly and addictive drug that boosted the family fortune by billions of dollars and caused immeasurable suffering. The Tate art galleries, which include the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain in London as well as outposts in Liverpool and Cornwall, announced Thursday that it will also not accept money from the family.

    The Sacklers are mired in legal action, investigations and looming congressional inquiries about their role in marketing a drug blamed for a significant early role in an epidemic of overdose deaths that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans since 1997.

    Is this a trend? These moves may affect immediate plans but won’t put much of a dent in the museums’ budgets. The impact on the Sackler family’s reputation, however, will force American arts institutions to pay attention.

    The Sackler family, which includes branches with differing levels of culpability and involvement with the issue, has a long history of donating to cultural organizations. Arthur M. Sackler, who gave millions of dollars’ worth of art and $4 million for the opening of the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery in 1987, died long before the OxyContin scandal began. Members of the family involved with OxyContin vigorously contest the claims that Perdue Pharma was unscrupulous in the promotion of a drug, though company executives pleaded guilty to violations involving OxyContin in 2007 and the company paid more than $600 million in fines.

    A million here or there is one thing. Having a whole building named for a family with blood on its hands is another, and seeking yet more money for new projects will become even more problematic. And every institution that bears the Sackler family name, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (which has a Sackler wing) and the University Art Museum at Princeton (which has a Sackler gallery) is now faced with the distasteful proposition of forever advertising the wealth of a family that is deeply implicated in suffering, death and social anomie.

    Will any major U.S. institution that has benefited from Sackler largesse remove the family’s name?

    The National Portrait Gallery in London. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)
    The usual arguments against this are stretched to the breaking point. Like arguments about Koch family money, which has benefited cultural institutions but is, to many, inextricably linked to global warming and the impending collapse of the Anthropocene, the issues at stake seem, at first, to be consistency and pragmatism. The pragmatic argument is this: Cultural organizations need the money, and if they don’t take it, that money will go somewhere else. And this leads quickly to the argument from consistency. Almost all of our major cultural organizations were built up with money derived from family fortunes that are tainted — by the exploitation of workers, slavery and the lasting impacts of slavery, the depredations of colonialism and the destruction of the environment. So why should contemporary arts and cultural groups be required to set themselves a higher, or more puritanical, standard when it comes to corrupt money? And if consistency matters, should we now be parsing the morality of every dollar that built every opera house and museum a century ago?

    Both arguments are cynical. Arts organizations that engage in moral money laundering cannot make a straight-faced claim to a higher moral purpose when they seek other kinds of funding, including donations and membership dollars from the general public and support from government and foundations. But the consistency argument — that the whole system is historically wrapped up in hypocrisy about money — needs particular reconsideration in the age of rapid information flows, which create sudden, digital moral crises and epiphanies.

    [The Sacklers have donated millions to museums. But their connection to the opioid crisis is threatening that legacy.]

    Moral (or social) hazard is a funny thing. For as long as cultural institutions are in the money-laundering business, companies such as Perdue Pharma will have an incentive to take greater risks. If the taint of public health disaster can be washed away, then other companies may choose to put profits over public safety. But this kind of hazard isn’t a finely calibrated tool. It involves a lot of chance and inconsistency in how it works. That has only increased in the age of viral Twitter campaigns and rapid conflagrations of public anger fueled by new social media tools.

    Why is it that the Sackler family is in the crosshairs and not any of the other myriad wealthy people whose money was made through products that are killing us? Because it is. And that seeming randomness is built into the way we now police our billionaires. It seems haphazard, and sometimes unfair, and inefficient. Are there worse malefactors scrubbing their toxic reputations with a new hospital wing or kids literacy program? Surely. Maybe they will find their money unwelcome at some point in the future, and maybe not. The thing that matters is that the risk is there.

    [Now would be a good time for museums to think about our gun plague]

    The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Art in Washington. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)
    Much of the Sackler family money was made off a drug that deadens the mind and reduces the human capacity for thought and feeling. There is a nice alignment between that fact and what may now, finally, be the beginnings of a new distaste about using Sackler money to promote art and cultural endeavors, which must always increase our capacities for engagement with the world. It is immensely satisfying that the artist Nan Goldin, whose work has explored the misery of drug culture, is playing a leading role in the emerging resistance to Sackler family money. (Goldin, who was considering a retrospective of her work at the National Portrait Gallery, said to the Observer: “I have told them I would not do it if they take the Sackler money.”)

    More artists should take a lead role in these conversations, to the point of usurping the usual prerogatives of boards and executive committees and ethical advisory groups to make decisions about corrupt money.

    [‘Shame on Sackler’: Anti-opioid activists call out late Smithsonian donor at his namesake museum]

    Ultimately, it is unlikely that any arts organization will manage to find a consistent policy or somehow finesse the challenge of saying all that money we accepted from gilded-age plutocrats a century ago is now clean. But we may think twice about taking money from people who are killing our planet and our people today. What matters is that sometimes lightning strikes, and there is hell to pay, and suddenly a name is blackened forever. That kind of justice may be terrifying and swift and inconsistent, but it sends a blunt message: When the world finally learns that what you have done is loathsome, it may not be possible to undo the damage through the miraculous scrubbing power of cultural detergent.

    #Opioides #Sackler #Musées #Shame

  • The Arthur Sackler Family’s Ties to OxyContin Money - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/04/sacklers-oxycontin-opioids/557525

    Much as the role of the addictive multibillion-dollar painkiller OxyContin in the opioid crisis has stirred controversy and rancor nationwide, so it has divided members of the wealthy and philanthropic Sackler family, some of whom own the company that makes the drug.

    In recent months, as protesters have begun pressuring the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and other cultural institutions to spurn donations from the Sacklers, one branch of the family has moved aggressively to distance itself from OxyContin and its manufacturer, Purdue Pharma. The widow and one daughter of Arthur Sackler, who owned a related Purdue company with his two brothers, maintain that none of his heirs have profited from sales of the drug. The daughter, Elizabeth Sackler, told The New York Times in January that Purdue Pharma’s involvement in the opioid epidemic was “morally abhorrent to me.”

    But an obscure court document sheds a different light on family history—and on the campaign by Arthur’s relatives to preserve their image and legacy. It shows that the Purdue family of companies made a nearly $20 million payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler in 1997—two year after OxyContin was approved, and just as the pill was becoming a big seller. As a result, though they do not profit from present-day sales, Arthur’s heirs appear to have benefited at least indirectly from OxyContin.

    The 1997 payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler is disclosed in the combined, audited financial statements of Purdue and its associated companies and subsidiaries. Those documents were filed among hundreds of pages of exhibits in the U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, as part of a 2007 settlement in which a company associated with Purdue and three company executives pleaded guilty to charges that OxyContin was illegally marketed. The company paid $600 million in penalties while admitting it falsely promoted OxyContin as less addictive and less likely to be abused than other pain medications.

    Arthur’s heirs include his widow and grandchildren. His children, including Elizabeth, do not inherit because they are not beneficiaries of a trust that was set up as part of a settlement of his estate, according to court records. Jillian receives an income from the trust. Elizabeth’s two children are heirs and would receive bequests upon Jillian’s death. A spokesman for Elizabeth Sackler declined to comment on the Purdue payment.

    Long before OxyContin was introduced, the Sackler brothers already were notable philanthropists. Arthur was one of the world’s biggest art collectors and a generous benefactor to cultural and educational institutions across the world. There is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard, and the Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

    His brothers were similarly generous. They joined with their older brother to fund the Sackler Wing at the Met, which features the Temple of Dendur exhibit. The Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation was the principal donor of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London; the Sackler name is affiliated with prestigious colleges from Yale to the University of Oxford, as well as world-famous cultural organizations, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There is even a Sackler Rose—so christened after Mortimer Sackler’s wife purchased the naming rights in her husband’s honor.

    Now the goodwill gained from this philanthropy may be waning as the Sackler family has found itself in an uncomfortable spotlight over the past six months. Two national magazines recently examined the intersection of the family’s wealth from OxyContin and its philanthropy, as have other media outlets across the world. The family has also been targeted in a campaign by the photographer Nan Goldin to “hold the Sacklers accountable” for OxyContin’s role in the opioid crisis. Goldin, who says she became addicted to OxyContin after it was prescribed for surgical pain, led a protest last month at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which demonstrators tossed pill bottles labeled as OxyContin into the reflecting pool of its Sackler Wing.

    While it doesn’t appear that any recipients of Sackler charitable contributions have returned gifts or pledged to reject future ones, pressure and scrutiny on many of those institutions is intensifying. In London, the National Portrait Gallery said it is reviewing a current pledge from the Sackler Trust.

    #Opioides #Sackler

  • The Arthur Sackler Family’s Ties to OxyContin Money - The Atlantic
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/04/sacklers-oxycontin-opioids/557525

    In recent months, as protesters have begun pressuring the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and other cultural institutions to spurn donations from the Sacklers, one branch of the family has moved aggressively to distance itself from OxyContin and its manufacturer, Purdue Pharma. The widow and one daughter of Arthur Sackler, who owned a related Purdue company with his two brothers, maintain that none of his heirs have profited from sales of the drug. The daughter, Elizabeth Sackler, told The New York Times in January that Purdue Pharma’s involvement in the opioid epidemic was “morally abhorrent to me.”

    Arthur died eight years before OxyContin hit the marketplace. His widow, Jillian Sackler, and Elizabeth, who is Jillian’s stepdaughter, are represented by separate public-relations firms and have successfully won clarifications and corrections from media outlets for suggesting that sales of the potent opioid enriched Arthur Sackler or his family.

    But an obscure court document sheds a different light on family history—and on the campaign by Arthur’s relatives to preserve their image and legacy. It shows that the Purdue family of companies made a nearly $20 million payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler in 1997—two year after OxyContin was approved, and just as the pill was becoming a big seller. As a result, though they do not profit from present-day sales, Arthur’s heirs appear to have benefited at least indirectly from OxyContin.

    The 1997 payment to the estate of Arthur Sackler is disclosed in the combined, audited financial statements of Purdue and its associated companies and subsidiaries. Those documents were filed among hundreds of pages of exhibits in the U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, as part of a 2007 settlement in which a company associated with Purdue and three company executives pleaded guilty to charges that OxyContin was illegally marketed. The company paid $600 million in penalties while admitting it falsely promoted OxyContin as less addictive and less likely to be abused than other pain medications.

    Long before OxyContin was introduced, the Sackler brothers already were notable philanthropists. Arthur was one of the world’s biggest art collectors and a generous benefactor to cultural and educational institutions across the world. There is the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum at Harvard, and the Jillian and Arthur M. Sackler Wing of Galleries at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

    His brothers were similarly generous. They joined with their older brother to fund the Sackler Wing at the Met, which features the Temple of Dendur exhibit. The Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation was the principal donor of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London; the Sackler name is affiliated with prestigious colleges from Yale to the University of Oxford, as well as world-famous cultural organizations, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There is even a Sackler Rose—so christened after Mortimer Sackler’s wife purchased the naming rights in her husband’s honor.

    Now the goodwill gained from this philanthropy may be waning as the Sackler family has found itself in an uncomfortable spotlight over the past six months. Two national magazines recently examined the intersection of the family’s wealth from OxyContin and its philanthropy, as have other media outlets across the world. The family has also been targeted in a campaign by the photographer Nan Goldin to “hold the Sacklers accountable” for OxyContin’s role in the opioid crisis. Goldin, who says she became addicted to OxyContin after it was prescribed for surgical pain, led a protest last month at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in which demonstrators tossed pill bottles labeled as OxyContin into the reflecting pool of its Sackler Wing.

    While it doesn’t appear that any recipients of Sackler charitable contributions have returned gifts or pledged to reject future ones, pressure and scrutiny on many of those institutions is intensifying. In London, the National Portrait Gallery said it is reviewing a current pledge from the Sackler Trust.

    #Opioids #Sackler