An anti-opioid activist group led by Nan Goldin staged a protest in the Met’s Sackler Wing over the museum’s connection with the Sackler family.
On March 10th, protesters tossed hundreds of pill bottles reading “OxyContin” and “prescribed to you by the Sacklers” into a reflection pool located inside of the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The protest was led by photographer Nan Goldin, who formed the anti-opioid activist group Prescription Addiction Intervention Now, or PAIN, after experiencing addiction to the painkiller OxyContin from 2014 to 2017. The protest group demanded that cultural institutions––such as the Met, the Guggenheim, and Victoria and Albert Museum––refuse further donations from the Sackler family due to certain members’ investment in Purdue Pharma, the company that developed OxyContin. In addition, the group called on Purdue to fund treatment for those addicted to OxyContin, which was misbranded as less addictive than other painkillers. A Purdue spokesman told the New York Times that the company was “deeply troubled” by the opioid crisis and was taking steps to stem the crisis. Some descendants of the family have stated that they have not profited from OxyContin, with Elizabeth A. Sackler, whose name adorns the Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, calling Purdue’s role in the crisis “morally abhorrent.”