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

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

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

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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