The photographer Nan Goldin and a crowd of 100 demonstrators were out en masse protesting at the Egyptian temple located at the Metropolitan Museum in NY. The rally was to raise awareness of donations from a branch of the Sackler family who wholly owns Purdue Pharma, makers the prescription drug OxyContin. The protest took place over the weekend.
‘I don’t know how they live with themselves’ – artist Nan Goldin
The group threw empty pill bottles labelled with “prescribed to you by the Sackler Family” into the moat surrounding the temple. The act was to highlight sponsorship by the family that owns one of the largest makers of opioids in the world. Over 150 people die each day in the US because of the addictive drug and Goldin feels the Sackler family should be held accountable by setting up rehab units to stop the crisis. “We want the Sacklers to put their money into rehab, not museums,” The artist stated. The Opioid crisis has seen overdoses increase by a third across the US in the past year. Opioids have killed more than 200,000 Americans.
Ms Goldin has been in recovery from addiction to OxyContin for the last few years. She nearly died in 2014 when the drug was prescribed for a minor wrist injury. She shouted, “Shame!” “As artists and activists, we demand funding for treatment: Over 100 people will die today, ten while we are standing here, from drug overdoses.” “Sacklers lie, people die,” Goldin chanted.
Last Autumn Ms Goldin wrote an essay in Art Forum stating ” The Sacklers made their fortune promoting addiction. OxyContin is one of the most addictive painkillers in the history of pharmacology. They advertised and distributed their medication knowing all the dangers. The Sackler family and their private company, Purdue Pharma, built their empire with the lives of hundreds of thousands. The bodies are piling up. In 2015, in the US alone, more than thirty-three thousand people died from opioid overdoses, half of them from prescription opioids; 80 percent of those who use heroin or buy fentanyl on the black market began with an opioid prescription. These statistics are growing exponentially.”
“I’ve started a group, P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), to hold them accountable. To get their ear, we will target their philanthropy. They have washed their blood money through the halls of museums and universities around the world. We demand that the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma use their fortune to fund addiction treatment and education. There is no time to waste.” – quotes courtesy Artforum
The Sacklers donated $3.4m to the Met-Museum, a gift that was used to build a home for the Temple of Dendur, one of the institution’s most popular draws.
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