September 22, 2023


How Art Works

College of Oxford Severs Ties with Sackler Household

2 min read

England’s Oxford College on Could 15 introduced that it will take away the Sackler identify from the buildings, areas, and workers positions with which it’s at present affiliated. The transfer follows an investigation performed earlier this yr by Irene Tracey, the college’s new vice-chancellor, who’s a professor of neuroscience specializing in ache notion and anesthetics. Oxford famous that whereas “all donations acquired from the Sackler household and their trusts might be retained by the college for his or her supposed academic functions,” no new donations have been acquired from any of those entities since January 2019, nor would any be accepted going ahead.

Affected by the choice, which was taken with the “full help of the Sackler household,” are the college’s former Sackler Library (now the Bodleian Artwork, Archaeology and Historic World Library) in addition to the Rome Gallery and the Gallery of Life After Loss of life in Historic Egypt on the Ashmolean Museum. The identify might be dropped from three workers positions funded by the household donations, together with that of keeper of antiquities on the Ashmolean. Within the curiosity of “historic recording,” the college will publicly acknowledge Sackler donations on a plaque at its Clarendon constructing and on the donor board on the Ashmolean. 

Oxford is the most recent main establishment to take away the identify, tainted by members of the family’ affiliation with the now-bankrupt Purdue Pharma, maker of the extremely addictive opioid OxyContin. Artist advocacy group P.A.I.N. (Prescription Habit Intervention Now), based by artist Nan Goldin, for years lobbied museums to finish their associations with the Sacklers, charging that members of the family “artwashed” income gained from the tarnished drugmaker via substantial items lavished upon museums in alternate for naming rights. The Victoria & Albert Museum scrubbed the identify from its partitions final yr, following within the footsteps of establishments together with London’s British Museum, Nationwide Gallery, and Serpentine Galleries; New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Artwork; and the Louvre in Paris.


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