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A proposed amendment to a bankruptcy restructuring plan submitted by Purdue Pharma could protect museums and other institutions that choose to remove the Sackler Family name from their spaces.
After pleading guilty to federal charges related to its role in the opioid epidemic, Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive prescription drug OxyContin, filed its restructuring plan in bankruptcy court this week. The proposal would transform the company into a new corporation, funneling revenue from sales toward efforts to mitigate the opioid crisis. Members of the Sackler family will also pay $4.275 billion from their personal fortune, estimated at $13 billion, to reimburse states, municipalities, tribes, and other plaintiffs in the case.
Lawmakers have long opposed the plan, arguing that it does not do enough to hold individual Sacklers accountable and releases them from civil litigation. In a statement yesterday, 23 states and the District of Columbia demanded several amendments to the proposal, including one that would protect museums and other nonprofits seeking to divest from the Sackler family.
“If Tong’s amendment is worked in, it will be like a magic wand freeing museums of honoring the Sackler name and preserving their tarnished legacy,” the activist group PAIN told Hyperallergic.
Over the last three years, several organizations, including New York University and Dia Art Foundation, have dropped the Sackler name from their spaces and titles, largely thanks to advocacy efforts by PAIN, led by artist Nan Goldin. Others, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have suspended accepting funds from the Sackler family.
But removing a donor’s name often requires jumping through legal hoops. A gift agreement to fund the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in the 1980s, for instance, included naming rights in perpetuity; the Smithsonian told the Washington Post that it has no plans to rename the space or return Sackler donations.
In the statement, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong calls for “protections for nonprofits over naming rights for charitable gifts” — essentially allowing institutions like the Smithsonian to get out of perpetuity contracts without facing lawsuits from the family.
Some artists and activists have accused the Sacklers of artwashing — hiding behind their philanthropic contributions, particularly those in the cultural sector—while making a profit from sales of a drug that resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Private texts between members of the Sackler family, first published by The.Ink last December, revealed the extent to which museums played a role in their PR strategy at the outset of the Purdue Pharma scandal.
Tong said the restructuring plan “falls short of the accountability that families and survivors deserve.”
“Our states investigated Purdue and the Sacklers and filed the lawsuits that took down their criminal enterprise. During the bankruptcy, our states worked together, across party lines, to force Purdue to turn over millions of pages of evidence and to question the Sacklers under oath. We also joined with every state and thousands of cities and towns to ensure that every dollar states recover is dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis.”
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
What is the relation between possessing a person, possessing their image, and dispossessing their progeny
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.
We cannot be indifferent to the long-lasting effects of photography. The photographs at the center of Lanier v. Harvard are relentless in making Renty and Delia Taylor work and perform as slaves. The pain inflicted on them has not ceased. Photography has the capacity to propagate harm, and we have the moral obligation to interrupt…