Art Market

Nan Goldin and the PAIN activist group staged a die-in in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Sackler Courtyard.”

Wallace Ludel
Nov 18, 2019 5:39PM, via The Guardian

Nan Goldin leading an earlier PAIN protest. Photo by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images.

The artist Nan Goldin and her activist group PAIN took to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on Saturday to continue their string of protests against members of the Sackler family over their role in the opioid crisis.

Saturday’s protest was part of an ongoing effort spurred by Goldin in late 2017 pressuring museums to sever ties with the Sackler family, as certain members of the family are behind Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, and are considered major players in the opioid crisis. In August, a multi-billion dollar settlement was proposed in response to over 2,000 lawsuits filed against the Sacklers—the settlement would hold Purdue Pharma accountable for intentionally misleading the public regarding the addictive qualities of OxyContin—though now it appears the Sacklers may walk away from it.

About 30 protesters were present at the V&A on Saturday, including Goldin. The group unfurled banners in front of the museum demanding it “abandon the Sackler name.” The protestors then staged a “die-in” in the museum’s Sackler Courtyard, with bottles of pills and red-stained “Oxy dollar” bills scattered around them.

Goldin said:

The V&A must stop giving cultural legitimacy and social stature to the family who unleashed this crisis, helping them escape consequences for lives lost. [. . .] The Sacklers are getting away with murder. Don’t let your legacy be tarnished by their name.

This was the latest of many protests Goldin and PAIN have staged at museums around the world, drawing attention to the funding these institutions have received from the Sackler family. These protests were the catalyst for the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Tate museum group to renounce funding from the Sacklers; they also prompted the Louvre to remove the Sackler name from their walls.

Goldin told The Guardian: “We all choose our fight and this is mine.”

Wallace Ludel