Elizabeth Sackler is a Public Historian, arts activist, and American Indian advocate. Dr. Sackler is the founder and president of the American Indian Ritual Object Repatriation Foundation, CEO and President of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, and President of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation. Dr. Sackler sits on the National Advisory Board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., is on the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Museum.
Dr. Sackler lectures internationally about the legal, ethical, and moral debates in the museum and art market worlds; most recently, in November 2013 at the UJA-Federation’s summit, I3: Insight, Innovation, Impact at the TimesCenter in New York and in October 2013 as a featured panelist at Boston College’s symposium, Visual Culture, Media & Gender , with “Making Headway: Institutional Transformation.” Her thought-provoking address, “New Forms: The World in A Different Order,” was the centerpiece of The First Supper Symposium in Oslo, Norway in May 2013. Earlier lectures on a variety of subjects include: “Moving Right Along: The Radicalization of Normal People” (2011, New York Academy of Art) and “Cultural Borders” (2010, Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Summer Institute.
She has authored numerous articles for scholarly journals and national magazines on cultural genocide; her chapter, “Calling for a Code of Ethics in the Indian Art Market,” is in Ethics and the Visual Arts (Elaine A. King and Gail Levin, editors, Allworth Press, 2006). Dr. Sackler has delivered papers on many panels over the last two decades, including: “Raising the Bar: Searching for an Ethical Morality,” at the National Museum of American Indian, “Ethics, Morality, and the Cultural Genocide of the American Indian Peoples,” at the New School and “The Museum’s Role in the Repatriation of American Indian Cultural Material,” at the Guggenheim Museum.
As President of The Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation, Dr. Sackler was responsible for gifting the iconic feminist masterpiece, The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, to the Brooklyn Museum in 2002 to establish its permanent installation venue, the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. A nexus for feminist art, theory and activism, the Sackler Center’s Feminist Art and Herstory galleries display critically acclaimed exhibitions, and its Forum is a venue for lectures and dialogue– a platform of advocacy for women’s issues. The Sackler Center First Awards is a prestigious yearly event honoring women who are first in their respective fields; past recipients include Chief Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Toni Morrison, the late Muriel Siebert, and Julie Taymor. The Sackler Center’s annual Women in the Arts award honors extraordinary women artists who have transformed the cultural, social and political landscape. Recipients include: Laurie Simmons and Lena Dunham, Yoko Ono, Kara Walker, Shirin Neshat, and Cindy Sherman.
Honored in 1999 by the Yurok Tribal Council, Dr. Sackler continues to receive numerous awards for her work in repatriation and in the museum world: In 2013 she was named an honorary member of the Guerrilla Girls and was honored with Augustus Graham Medal from the Brooklyn Museum. Other awards include: Jewish Women’s Archive “Making Trouble, Making History Award”, Neuberger Art Museum’s “Passionate Advocate of the Arts”, “Women of Power and Influence Award” from NOW-NYC, “21 Leaders of the Moore College of Art & Design’s “Visionary Woman Award”, “Native American of the Year” from Drums along the Hudson; ArtTable’s prestigious “Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts Award”, “21 Leaders of the 21st Century” from Women’s eNews, and “Women in the Arts Award,” from the Brooklyn Museum. With this endeavor, Dr. Sackler has realized her vision of highlighting women’s contributions in all fields throughout history and creating a space to share ideas and the ideals of feminism: equality, equity, and justice for all peoples.
Elizabeth Sackler has spent the best part of her adult life creating opportunities for those who have not had a public voice or venue to be heard or seen.
© 2008 American Indian Ritual Object Repatriation Foundation