Human Cost, Tate Britain Performance (87 minutes), charcoal and sunflower oil 20 April 2011 – First anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

On the same day, 166 people who work in the arts published a letter in the Guardian calling on Tate to end its sponsorship relationship with BP. “In the year since its catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP has massively ramped up its investment in controversial tar sands extraction in Canada, has been shown to have been a key backer of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, and has attempted to commence drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. While BP continues to jeopardise ecosystems communities and the climate by the reckless pursuit of "frontier" oil, cultural institutions like Tate damage their reputation by continuing to be associated with such a destructive corporation.

The massive cuts to public arts funding in the UK have left hundreds of culturally important arts organisations in a position of great financial vulnerability, which means that the debate about the appropriateness of particular potential corporate sponsors like BP and Shell is more relevant than ever. As people working in the arts, we believe that corporate sponsorship does not exist in an ethical vacuum. In light of the negative social and ecological impacts of BP around the world, we urge Tate to demonstrate its commitment to a sustainable future by ending its sponsorship relationship with BP.”

Email : liberatetate@gmail.com

liberatetate.org ‘End oil sponsorship of the arts’ on Facebook @liberatetate on twitter

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Liberate Tate Collective Works

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Where it all began

Liberate Tate is a network dedicated to taking creative disobedience against Tate until it drops its oil company funding.

The network was founded during a workshop in January 2010 on art and activism, commissioned by Tate.

When…


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Where it all began

Liberate Tate is a network dedicated to taking creative disobedience against Tate until it drops its oil company funding.

The network was founded during a workshop in January 2010 on art and activism, commissioned by Tate.

When Tate curators tried to censor the workshop from making interventions against Tate sponsors, even though none had been planned, the incensed participants decided to continue their work together beyond the workshop and set up Liberate Tate.

LIBERATE TATE COMMUNIQUE #1 MAY 2010 – Released during Tate Modern’s 10 year Birthday Celebration Weekend.

Dear Tate

Happy Birthday. We wish we could celebrate with you. But we can’t.

As we write, your corporate sponsor BP is creating the largest oil painting in the world, inspired by profit margins and a culture that puts money in front of life, its shadowy stain shimmers across the Gulf of Mexico. A toxic tide that turns thriving ecosystems into deserts and deprives cultures of their way of life, it is one of the world’s greatest works of corporate art, a work that reeks of death and speaks of our society’s failure of imagination.

Every day Tate scrubs clean BP’s public image with the detergent of cool progressive culture. But there is nothing innovative or cutting edge about a company that knowingly feeds our addiction to fossil fuels despite a climate crisis, a company whose greed has killed twenty-one employees in just over a year, a company that continues to invest in the cancer-causing climate crimes of tar sands in Alberta, Canada.

By placing the words BP and Art together, the destructive and obsolete nature of the fossil fuel industry is masked, and crimes against the future are given a slick and stainless sheen.

Every time we step inside the museum Tate makes us complicit with these acts, acts that will one day seem as archaic as the slave trade, as anachronistic as public executions Every time Nicholas Serota is asked how a museum that prides itself on dealing with climate change can be funded by an oil company he responds that there are no plans to abandon BP sponsorship (anything to do with having an ex-CEO of BP chair Tate’s board of trustees?).

When art activist group The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination were invited to run a workshop on art and civil disobedience, they were told by curators that they could not take any action against Tate and its sponsors and the workshop was policed by the curators to make sure the artists produced work “commensurate with the Tate’s mission”. In March 2010, Tate Modern ran an eco symposium, “Rising to the Climate Change Challenge: Artists and Scientists Imagine Tomorrow’s World”, on the same day that Tate Britain was celebrating twenty years of BP sponsorship with one of its ‘BP Saturdays’ Incensed by this censorship and hypocrisy, participants in the symposium called for a vote: 80% of the audience agreed that BP sponsorship should be dropped by 2012.

So today we offer you a birthday present, a gift to liberate Tate from its old-fashioned fossil fuel addiction – a gift for the future. Beginning during your 10th anniversary party and continuing until you drop the sponsorship deal, we will be commissioning a series of art interventions in Tate buildings across the country. Already commissioned are Art Action collective, with a birthday surprise at this weekend’s No Soul For Sale event, and The Invisible Committee, who will infiltrate every corner of Tate across the country in the coming months.

We invite artists to join us and act to liberate Tate. Free art from oil.

http://www.liberatetate.org
http://liberatetate.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/liberatetate

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