Industrial Wealth Behind Philanthropy

Art museums are breaking ties with the Sackler family and are no longer accepting gifts from them.

Guggenheim Museum Says It Won’t Accept Gifts From Sackler Family, The New York Times

Tate Galleries Will Refuse Sackler Money Because of Opioid Links, The New York Times

British Gallery Turns Down $1.3 Million Sackler Donation, The New York Times

Some, including artists, are protesting the use of gifted funds earned through certain questionable activities.

[Nan] Goldin plans to stage a protest at another leading London venue in the near future to shame it into refusing cash from the family. The art photographer, who won acclaim with her book and photo-show, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, in 1986, later became addicted to OxyContin after an injury.

Royal Naval College under pressure over Sackler opioid cash, The Guardian

But industrial wealth is routinely converted to schools, libraries, and art museums.

When the Met was originally built, in 1880, one of its trustees, the lawyer Joseph Choate, gave a speech to Gilded Age industrialists who had gathered to celebrate its dedication, and, in a bid for their support, offered the sly observation that what philanthropy really buys is immortality: “Think of it, ye millionaires of many markets, what glory may yet be yours, if you only listen to our advice, to convert pork into porcelain, grain and produce into priceless pottery, the rude ores of commerce into sculptured marble.” Through such transubstantiation, many fortunes have passed into enduring civic institutions. Over time, the origins of a clan’s largesse are largely forgotten, and we recall only the philanthropic legacy, prompted by the name on the building.

The Family That Built an Empire of Pain, The New Yorker

It is unlikely that such practices will ever end.

The oculus at the Guggenheim Museum, 90 feet above the rotunda floor and spanning 58 feet.
Twitter @Guggenheim

Post by Marcelino Pantoja