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The artist hopes to blast the Sackler name from art institutions worldwide for their role in the prescription painkiller epidemic.

Nan Goldin Calls Proposed Sackler Deal ‘Appalling’

Nan Goldin, Self-Portrait, Red, Zurich (2000). Cibachrome print. 65.7 x 97.2cm. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery.

Artist and activist Nan Goldin has criticised a proposed bankruptcy deal that would see the Sackler Family's company Purdue Pharma pay over $4.5 billion to settle thousands of cases against them for their part in the opioid crisis.

In the last 20 years over half a million Americans have died from taking addictive opioids including Purdue's infamous painkiller OxyContin.

The legal case is especially salient in the art world due to the Sacklers' considerable donations to art institutions, who have given the Sackler name to sponsored spaces. These include a wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an arts education centre at the Guggenheim, a room at the National Gallery in the U.K., and an elevator at the Tate Modern, among other examples.

State attorneys general previously argued that art institutions should be able to excise the Sackler name from their walls as part of the deal, but 15 states dropped that demand in a new proposed deal that requires the payment of an additional $50 million.

The new deal says nothing about existing use of the Sackler name at art museums. Instead, it requires the Sackler family not to impose its name on art institutions until they've paid the $4.5 billion, which will take nine years.

Goldin described the outcome as 'appalling'.

'That means we've tarnished their legacy, but only for a decade,' she tweeted.

Goldin says she 'narrowly escaped' from OxyContin herself after becoming addicted 'overnight' following a surgery.

'My life revolved entirely around getting and using Oxy,' she wrote in a statement published online. When she ran out of money for the drug, she turned to fentanyl and overdosed.

Goldin likened the opioid crisis to the AIDS crisis that killed so many people in the queer community she captures in her photographs.

In 2017, she established a group called P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.

P.A.I.N. is currently planning onsite protests at the Met and the Guggenheim to pressure them into renouncing the Sacklers and removing their name from museum signage. —[O]

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