Museums and Questions of Donor Morality: The Sackler Case: Addendum

We have written about recent large-scale removal of the Sackler name from museums in the United States and the United Kingdom. These actions followed persistent demands by artists for museums to disassociate the institutions from the owners of Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, which was blamed for fueling the U.S. opioid epidemic. 

The most notable holdout until now has been the Victoria and Albert Museum, with its entrance named the Sackler Courtyard. The V&A has now joined the ranks of museums removing the family’s name from its galleries, issuing the following statement:

The V&A and the family of the late Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler have mutually agreed that the V&A’s Centre for Arts Education and Exhibition Road courtyard will no longer carry the Sackler name. Dame Theresa Sackler was a trustee of the V&A between 2011 and 2019, and we are immensely grateful for her service to the V&A over the years. We have no current plans to rename the spaces.

The statement by the museum comes a few days before the opening of the London Film Festival, which will feature a documentary film about artist Nan Goldin’s campaign to remove the family name from museums. The film was awarded the Golden Lion for best film at the 79th Venice International Film Festival.