A Good Start

The Guggenheim Museum has announced that it will no longer take donations from the Sackler family, because they have revealed themselves to be little more than amoral drug pushers:

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York said on Friday that it did not plan to accept future gifts from the family of Mortimer D. Sackler, a philanthropist and former board member whose money has been met with growing unease in the art world as his family’s pharmaceutical interests have been linked to the opioid crisis.

The Guggenheim’s decision was announced one day after Tate, which runs some of the most important art museums in Britain, announced a similar move, saying that “in the present circumstances we do not think it right to seek or accept further donations from the Sacklers.”

Earlier this week, Britain’s National Portrait Gallery also spurned the Sackler family, saying it would not accept a long-discussed $1.3 million donation from one of the family’s foundations, the London-based Sackler Trust.

The Guggenheim announced its decision on Friday in a brief statement that did not mention the opioid crisis or Mr. Sackler’s past on the museum’s board. A museum spokeswoman declined on Friday night to explain its rationale for the move or its decision-making process.


“No contributions from the Sackler family have been received since 2015,” the statement said. “No additional gifts are planned, and the Guggenheim does not plan to accept any gifts.”


The decision by a series of leading institutions to spurn gifts by the Sacklers, major donors on both sides of the Atlantic, is a potent sign of the deepening disquiet within the art world over the family’s connection to the opioid crisis.


Last month, Daniel Weiss, the president and chief executive of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, said in a statement that it valued its longstanding relationship with the Sackler family, whose name is on the wing housing the museum’s showpiece Temple of Dendur.

But he said the museum was “currently engaging in a further review of our detailed gift acceptance policies, and we will have more to report in due course.”

It’s nice that the Sacklers are being shunned, as they should be, but I still want to see the Billy Ray Valentine solution.*

*The best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.

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