Guggenheim Rejects Opioid-Family Money. But These Museums Are Still Taking It.

The Guggenheim became the latest museum to say no to any more money from the Sacklers.

Felix Hörhager/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Purdue Pharma’s production and sale of OxyContin helped make the Sacklers one of the richest families in America—and, in turn, a top donor to some of the world’s largest art museums. But it also helped create and abet the opioid crisis, and on Friday, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York announced it would no longer take Sackler money.

The move comes three days after the National Gallery of Art in London rejected a one-million-pound donation from the Sacklers. But the decision by the Guggenheim is potentially bigger. Between 2001 and 2017, the museum accepted at least $6.4 million from the Sackler family, and until recently, Mortimer D. Sackler, the patriarch of the family that owns much of Purdue Pharma, sat on the Guggenheim’s board of trustees. Pressure had been building on the Guggenheim and other prominent cultural institutions to reject money from the Sacklers. Just last month, protesters stormed the Guggenheim brandishing fake prescription pads.

The Guggenheim has been the fourth-largest recipient of Sackler donations this century. But a number of the most iconic cultural institutions around the world continue to accept the family’s money, including the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Opera. Here are the top 10 beneficiaries of Sackler money since 2001:

Victoria and Albert Museum: $12.7 million

New York Academy of Sciences: $11.3 million

Dia Art Foundation: $10.2 million

Guggenheim: $6.4 million

American Museum of Natural History: $5.6 million

Science Museum of London: $2.6 million

Metropolitan Opera Association: $2.1 million

Brooklyn Museum: $1 million

American Fund for the Tate Gallery: $940,000

Royal College of Art: $803,150

Note: Includes donations from the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, the Mortimer D. Sackler Foundation, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation, and the Richard and Beth Sackler Foundation

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate