V&A urged to give back £500,000 from opioid billionaires The V&A Dundee is among the Scottish beneficiaries facing calls to return donations from the billionaire Sackler family, who are accused of fuelling an epidemic of painkiller addiction.

A Scotland on Sunday investigation has revealed that the museum, which opened to the public in September, received a £500,000 grant from the philanthropic arm of the Sackler family, currently facing protests and legal action in the US over the widespread use of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, manufactured by Purdue Pharma.

Green MSP Ross Greer said: “Public and charitable bodies in Scotland who’ve benefited from the company’s profits via the Sackler Trust should return those donations or otherwise work to ensure justice is delivered for opioid victims.”

A V&A Dundee spokesman told Scotland on Sunday: “V&A Dundee has received historic support from the Sackler Trust and the Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation for the creation of the museum, as have many other major cultural projects in the UK.”

The artist Nan Goldin, who was herself addicted to the drug, has been leading protests against the many arts organisations funded by the Sackler Trust. According to documents filed with the Charities Commission, the trust has made charitable donations of more than £60million in the UK since 2010. Read our report on the opening of V&A Dundee here

John Richardson, art historian and Picasso biographer, is dead at 95 The British-born art historian and critic best known for his definitive, multivolume biography of Pablo Picasso died at his home in New York on 12 March.

As well as being a friend of Picasso, Richardson met and knew many famous artists and art world figures including Peggy Guggenheim, Andy Warhol, Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. He delivered the eulogy at Warhol’s memorial service in 1987.

Richardson was active as a writer until his death, with a fourth and final volume on Picasso reportedly finished but yet to be published. A new book, John Richardson: At Home, is to be published by Rizzoli on 26 March.

Performa launches online platform for streaming new and archived works The New York–based arts organisation Performa, which commissions and produces live performances, has launched a new website that includes a broadcast channel for new work as well as video from Performa’s archives, and curated screening programmes.

Performa is best known internationally for its eponymous biennial of performance art, the eighth edition of which will take place 1-14 November 2019 at locations throughout New York City.

Collectors pledge support for contemporary art in Italy As the country’s right-wing government slashes funding to the arts, the Art Newspaper reports that a coalition of art collectors and private foundations in Italy is staging an exhibition of contemporary Italian art across six cities including Turin, Venice, Rome and Naples.

The exhibition, titled ‘Grand Tour Contemporaneo’, opens on 15 April in 12 venues and is intended to “serve as a rich map to the current landscape of Italian art” and its “various practices and approaches”.

The move follows a swathe of budget cuts including reducing by €1.5m the €2m annual subsidy provided to MAXXI in Rome, the Zaha Hadid-designed museum of contemporary art, while also reducing by the same amount funding for the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, also in Rome.

V&A Dundee. Photo: Chris Sharratt

More on a-n.co.uk:

Kara Walker selected for Tate Modern’s next Turbine Hall commission


A Q&A with… Richard Billingham, photographer and director of Ray & Liz


Venice Biennale 2019: curator Ralph Rugoff announces artists for International Exhibition