Nan Goldin and Anti-Opioid Activists Storm Louvre in Sackler Protest

In further news: Southbank creative director warns of ‘cultural apartheid’; Uffizi and Accademia in Florence to merge management

P.A.I.N. activists, Louvre, Paris, 2019. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Stephane de Sakutin, AFP

P.A.I.N. activists, Louvre, Paris, 2019. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Stephane de Sakutin, AFP

US artist and activist Nan Goldin has taken her anti-opioids P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) campaign to the Louvre in Paris, calling for the museum to rename its Sackler wing. Several protesters unfolded a banner beneath the Louvre’s IM Pei-designed pyramid, demanding: ‘Take down the Sackler name’ – referring to members of the multibillionaire philanthropic family who have profited from the sale of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin. ‘The museum world must act. I hope the Louvre understands that artists and activists are mobilized to get the name removed, and the Louvre could be the first museum to take the Sackler name down. Often there’s a domino effect among museums and galleries,’ Goldin said. Recently the Met and Guggenheim in New York, and the National Portrait Gallery and Tate in the UK, have all promised to stop accepting Sackler money.

Yana Peel, the former chief executive officer of London’s Serpentine Galleries, has resigned from her position as board member of Hong Kong’s art space Para Site. Last month, Peel stepped down from her position at the Serpentine Gallery in a cybersecurity controversy – her departure followed a Guardian report which linked Peel to a controversial Israeli technology firm. In her resignation statement on 18 June, Peel cited ‘misguided personal attacks on me and my family’. Peel remains on the advisory board of Asia Art Archive.

The creative director of London’s Southbank, Madani Younis, has warned of the risk of ‘cultural apartheid’ during a panel discussion at the British Library last week. Younis said that structural changes were needed in order to increase the number of BAME cultural workers and also warned that institutions should be wary of the de-politicization of knowledge. ‘Institutions that have historically not given a shit are saying ‘we’re going to start caring’’, Younis said, adding that while this was a positive step, ‘not only have those ideas been co-opted, the pace of change is being determined by those institutions.’ Younis asked the audience: ‘can you imagine a vision of the world in which we can link public funding to demographics?’. Currently, 18% people working in London’s creative industries are from BAME backgrounds, according to a recent study. BAME people account for around 40% of London’s population.

In further news: the Italian culture minister Alberto Bonisoli has announced plans to name a single director to run the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia in Florence – with management of both merged; Natasha Logan has been appointed deputy director of New York’s Creative Time; and Timm Ulrichs has won the 2020 Käthe Kollwitz Prize.

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