Londoner Diary: What’s in a Name? Art venues face difficulties with “tainted” donors
RTS institutions in London are feeling pressure to remove the Sackler name from their buildings after New York’s Met Museum renamed its Sackler Wing earlier this month.
Members of the Sackler family who owned Purdue Pharma have faced criticism for their role in the opioid crisis in the United States, as their company created and sold the drug Oxycontin. They have donated millions to the arts around the world. The name Sackler is now widely regarded as tainted with association.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, which has a Sackler courtyard, says it “does not consider removing signage related to past or present donors.” The National Gallery, pictured, also said its Sackler Room was a “historic donation” from 1993 and “therefore there are no plans to change the name of the room at this time.” The British Museum, which received funding from the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation between 1990 and 2013, says it “does not consider removing signage related to past or present donors.”
Institutions such as the Tate and the National Theater previously received Sackler money, and some display the names prominently. Most say they won’t take more money.
The Serpentine Gallery renamed two galleries earlier this year. The North Gallery was previously known as the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, although the institution claimed the change was unrelated to the opioid crisis. Serpentine CEO Bettina Korek has an upcoming article claiming future artistic philanthropy will likely involve fewer building names.
Patrick Radden Keefe, an American author who won this year’s Baillie Gifford Prize for his book on the Sacklers, Empire of Pain, told The Londoner: “This is an interesting time for artistic and cultural institutions, as people raise difficult questions about where the money they are accepting comes from. He said the Met’s move would mean “it will become more difficult for these organizations to adopt an attitude of willful blindness.”
Roadshow “discusses colonialism”
The Antiques Roadshow defended itself after being accused of cultural ignorance for saying that a 200-year-old Mughal ring had “somehow” found its way to Britain. “Somehow he does a lot of work,” wrote Dan Hicks, author of The Brutish Museums. Hicks tells us he’d just love to see more talk of Britain’s colonial past on the show, but the BBC insists the Londoner it’s already doing so. Of the ring, they add: “There was no definitive information on how he had become in the UK.”
May to supervise the women parliamentarians of Oz
THERESA MAY is due to travel to Australia next year to help the Victoria Liberal Party encourage more women in state parliament. Following the success of the conservative Women2Win program she co-founded in 2005, the former prime minister will travel to Melbourne at the party’s request to lead conversations and provide mentorship, Australian media report. Only seven of the 31 Liberal Party members are women. May might have her work cut out for her. If she can do it.
Queen’s Brian: Piers lost his mind
QUEEN guitarist Brian May has spoken of his sadness to see his “old friend” Piers Corbyn “lose his marbles” and allegedly inciting violence because of the blockages. Piers Corbyn was arrested last night on suspicion of encouraging people to burn down MPs’ offices. May, who studied physics with him at Imperial College in the 1960s, said Corbyn was “a very bright young man”. The guitarist, who had Covid last week, called on people to ‘get real’.
“Canceling the culture got worse”
Alan Rusbridger, the former Guardian editor who returned to the media after six years, tells us that the atmosphere around the culture cancellation “is worse” than when he left The Guardian. Rusbridger made canceling culture the theme of his first issue of Prospect Magazine. “There is a greater sensitivity around certain topics and feelings, which is not necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “You must have as a guiding star that some of the things you post will offend people, but that’s no reason not to post them. Rusbridger, however, cautioned against the phrase “legal but harmful” which he said “crept into the online damage bill.” “You have to be very careful with that harmful word because people think of what I do is so different,” Rusbridger explained. While some things have changed during his absence as head of a college in Oxford, Rusbridger added that he was happy to see the traditional journalists’ lunch continue. “The first day when we got there for lunch, I tiptoed out gently and said, ‘Is anyone still having lunch? »…. they all looked very happy so we went to the pub ”.
DOMINIC Cummings isn’t Boris Johnson’s biggest fan, that’s right – but the former adviser still gives a surprising number on the odds Johnson will be ousted. In an article on his blog SubStack, he reflects on “what the new prime minister, who will take over in 2022 (85%), should do” to deal with structural problems. It is a large number.
LES TORIES are looking for a political advisor. This is an “exciting opportunity”, according to the party, for someone with “excellent political judgment and great attention to detail”. It could have been useful before now. The right candidate must also be prepared to “nurture and support” their colleagues. Above cheese and wine?