Nan Goldin leads protest against Sackler family bankruptcy settlement – ARTnews.com
On Monday, protesters led by artist Nan Goldin built a symbolic cemetery in the plaza of a Westchester County bankruptcy court to protest a proposed settlement for Purdue Pharma.
For action, protesters brought cardboard headstones with the names of friends and family members whose lives had been taken by the opioid epidemic in the United States, and lined them up in front of the White Plains Federal Courthouse, where the bankruptcy trial is scheduled to begin on Thursday.
Protesters and others decried the proposed settlement because it would protect members of the Sackler family, owners of Purdue, from future civil lawsuits related to opioid-related deaths. (In the past 20 years, there have been over half a million opioid-related deaths.) The proposed deal would also allow members of the Sackler family to settle the thousands of cases against them by paying 4, $ 5 billion of their personal fortune over the next nine years and ceding ownership to Purdue Pharma. The company has also agreed to make millions of documents available.
“[While] this deal is not perfect, we are delivering $ 4.5 billion to opioid ravaged communities on an accelerated schedule and it is removing one of the country’s most dangerous drug traffickers from the opioid trade once and for all ” New York State Attorney General Letitia James said. said in a statement in July.
Since 2018, Nan Goldin, who previously suffered from opioid addiction, and her activist group PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) have orchestrated dozens of actions in museums around the world, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York. , the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and the Harvard Art Museums in Massachusetts, all of which had previously accepted donations from members of the Sackler family, one of the world’s leading artistic philanthropists. Often, the group will stage a “die-in” inside the galleries or on the steps of the museum, lying in the middle of fake prescription bottles.
As a result of these protests, many artistic institutions have since moved away from the Sackler name. Institutions such as the Louvre in Paris and the Serpentine Galleries in London have since removed or emphasized the Sackler name from major galleries, while the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the UK system of museums Tate have said that ‘they would no longer accept family donations.
Previously, more than 20 state attorneys had pushed for a rule amendment that would allow nonprofits to remove the Sackler name from its spaces without fear of legal repercussions. (In some cases, large financial donations have hard stipulations such as naming rights which, if violated, could cause the nonprofit to lose the money donated.) The concession is missing from the plan. proposed bankruptcy restructuring. Instead, members of the Sackler family would be prohibited from applying for or authorizing new naming rights in connection with charitable donations over the next nine years.
Outside the White Plains bankruptcy court, Goldin and other protesters unfurled banners calling the proceedings “morally bankrupt.” As of yet, members of the Sackler family have not been charged with their role in Purdue’s sale of OxyContin and the resulting opioid epidemic.
“As the Sacklers were ousted from museums, they went to seek protection from another institution that has long favored the rich and powerful: the American justice system,” Goldin wrote in an op-ed for the arts journal in 2020. “There they are protected by a flotilla of the most expensive lawyers who have crafted a bankruptcy deal that will grant them immunity from any future liability. Clearly there are two systems of justice: one for billionaires and one for the rest of us.