Controversial American photographer Nan Goldin’s ongoing protest against the Sackler family has made it to Paris.
Following on from actions staged at New York’s Guggenheim Museum and a proposed boycott of the National Portrait Gallery in London, Goldin’s latest public protest against the pharmaceutical family’s continued patronage of the arts has taken place at the most visited museum, the Louvre.
Goldin’s crusade has seen her demanding that galleries and museums across the world sever their ties with the Sacklers, refusing future donations, and removing the family name from the various wings and spaces they’ve sponsored over the years.
She is the co-founder of Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (P.A.I.N), an anti-opioid campaign group.
The Ballad of Sexual Dependency star found herself wading into the Louvre’s famous fountains during the protest yesterday afternoon, 1 July. She was joined by around 40 art-minded activists who joined in a chant of “Shame on Sackler”.
The anti-Sackler argument stems from the family’s ownership of Purdue Pharma, the company responsible for the production and distribution of OxyContin, one of the drugs at the heart of the current opioid crisis ravaging sections of America.
In an opinion piece for It’s Nice That published earlier this year, Studio Templo co-founder Pali Palavathanan described the decision that arts institutions have to make when it comes to accepting financial support from unethical sources as “a complicated dynamic that we are sadly all too familiar with.”
Earlier this year the National Portrait Gallery made art world history by becoming the first major institution to turn down a proposed injection of cash from the Sacklers.
The Louvre’s Sackler wing – as it is currently named – was opened in 1997. The French museum has reported that “No donation from the Sackler family has been made,” to the museum since then.
“The museum world must act. I hope the Louvre understands that artists and activists are mobilised to get the name removed, and the Louvre could be the first museum to take the Sackler name down,” Goldin is quoted as saying by the Guardian. “Often there’s a domino effect among museums and galleries.”