Friday, 11 March 2016
Today oil company BP announced its 26 year sponsorship of UK art gallery Tate would end at the start of 2017.
Art collective Liberate Tate, alongside thousands of artists, members and gallery-goers, had called on Tate to end the contract on ethical grounds. This announcement comes close to the end of Tate and BP’s current five-year deal, and the group had been pushing Tate not to sign another similar contract.
Yasmin De Silva:
“We’re thrilled with the news Tate is rid of BP. About thirty years ago, the tide turned on tobacco sponsorship, and now the same thing is happening to the oil industry. Of course Tate won’t rub it in BP’s face by acknowledging this decision is the result of the increasing public concern about climate change and the huge number of artists, members and gallery-goers speaking out about against the controversial deal.”
“BP is a company whose business model depends on trashing the climate, and it shouldn’t receive credibility by being associated with our most-cherished cultural institutions. April will see the sixth anniversary of the start of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, we think of all the people around the world who have suffered the impacts of BP’s operations and can now know that Tate will no longer wipe its name clean. It’s time for other institutions sponsored by BP, Shell and other oil companies – like National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Opera House and British Museum – to follow Tate’s lead and end their deals.”
Liberate Tate is an art collective that formed in 2010 to ‘free Tate from BP’. The group has made numerous performance interventions inside Tate galleries, including covering a naked man in an oil-like substance (Human Cost, 2011), a hundred people assembling a 16.5 metre-long wind turbine blade (The Gift, 2012), fifty people counting aloud the increases in carbon dioxide through chronologically ordered gallery spaces (Parts Per Million, 2013), transcribing texts on art and climate change across a massive area of the gallery floor overnight (Time Piece, 2015), and about fifty people receiving tattoos showing carbon dioxide levels (Birthmark, 2015). For more information on performances visit www.liberatetate.org.uk.
Activists occupied the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall overnight on Saturday June13 2015 in protest at the gallery’s sponsorship by oil company BP. The 75 demonstrators from the Liberate Tate group, dressed in black with veils covering their faces, spent 25 hours scrawling words of warning about climate change in charcoal on the sloping floor of the hall. They refused to leave the building when it closed and were eventually allowed to stay overnight. They left at lunchtime on Sunday