The Temple of Dendur in the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art said today that it would stop accepting donations from members of the Sackler family who are associated with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the prescription opioid OxyContin, which is linked to thousands of overdoses annually in the US.
The Sacklers have been longtime donors to the museum, and the Met and other art institutions that have benefited from the familys largesse have faced protests over those ties, notably led by the artist Nan Goldin, who struggled with an opioid addiction herself. Members of the Sackler family have also been named in a number of related lawsuits. In January, the Met announced that it was reassessing its gift acceptance policy as a result of the controversy.
Daniel Weiss, the museums president and chief executive, said the decision was taken by the Met leadership in conjunction with a vote by the museums board of trustees after a vigorous internal discussion about the gift policy, including “under what the circumstances we might decide not to accept a gift”. He declined to specify the boards vote.
“Were not a partisan or political institution so it is not our role to subject our donors to any particular litmus test,” Weiss said. At the same time, “we all have become increasingly focused around issues of accountability,” he said, noting that the controversy over the Sacklers involved a “a very serious public health crisis with pending litigation”.
“The Sackler family has graciously supported the Met for 50 years and has not proposed any new contributions,” he said. “Nonetheless, in consideration of the ongoing litigation, the prudent course of action at this time is to suspend acceptance of gifts from individuals associated with this public health crisis.”
He said that the Met did not plan to remove the Sackler name from the glass-enclosed wing housing the museums imposing Temple of Dendur, which opened in 1978 at a cost of around $9.5m including major funding by Arthur, Raymond and Mortimer Sackler. “Commitments made in the past were made under different sets of circumstances,” he said, well before OxyContin was introduced in 1996.
The New York museum joins other institutions that have already announced they would no longer accept gifts from the Sackler family, including the _