|Pressure grows on the Tate to ditch BP by 2012|
|Sunday, 07 March 2010 19:46|
Should the art world dump BP?
by Ossian Ward, Time Out,19.7.10
Greenpeace boss Sauven on BP and the Tate:
Tate Britain's Summer Party, a celebration of 20 years of BP sponsorship, is flooded with oil and scattered with feathers, (28.6.10)
LIBERATE TATE COMMUNIQUE #2 (JUNE 2010)
Art Monthly discussion with John Jordan (Liberate Tate etc.) and JJ Charlesworth about BP and museums and art and revolution
Guardian poll, June 2010:
'Should the Tate continue to accept BP sponsorship?'
And this is amazing:
171 artists sign letter calling for Tate to climb free of BP, (Gdn, 28.6.10):
'Galleries and museums face summer of protest over BP arts sponsorship', (Gdn 24.6.10)
Prestigious institutions defend links with oil firm as artists and green activists plan action www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/24/galleries-museums-summer-protest-bp-arts-sponsorship
Above: a poster from New Orleans...
For a musical 'tribute' to BP, have a listen to 'Celebrate This!' by The Carbon Town Cryer:
PLATFORM's new briefing (June 2010) is definitely worth a download:
Terrific, in-depth discussion of these issues:
That above is a brand new image by Raithy, placed here partly as a response to the terrible loss of human life and animal life in the Gulf of Mexico at the moment.
Here's a groundbreaking question to Nicholas Serota slotted amongst the art theory, taken from The Observer's piece headed 'Artists, critics and readers on 10 years of Tate Modern':
Glen Tarman, Charity manager, Wapping, London: 'In a time of climate change, will you stop sponsorship by oil companies so we can visit Tate and enjoy great art without being complicit in climate chaos?'
Picture shows 'Disobedience Makes History' workshop participants using the windows of
Pressure is growing on the Tate to ditch BP as sponsor, preferably in time for the opening of its new extension in 2012.
This is from Art Monthly's March editorial, reporting on a recent workshop titled 'Disobedience Makes History', held there by artist/activist John Jordan with 30 participants, many of whom are now committed to seeing Tate live up to its sustainability rhetoric and go BP-free:
IN ADVANCE OF A BROKEN ARM
The pity of it is that the UK's flagship museum of modern and contemporary art should feel so exposed and vulnerable to the vagaries of sponsors that it engages in this form of self-censorship - in advance of a broken arm, so to speak.'
Here's a snippet from his piece in the magazine:
ON REFUSING TO PRETEND TO DO POLITICS IN A MUSEUM
EMAIL DIALOGUE WITH PENELOPE CURTIS, DIRECTOR, TATE BRITAIN, MAY 2010
Here's a recent email dialogue with Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain, elicited by our sending to her a copy of the Art Not Oil 2010 diary, and an impassioned plea to consider terminating the relationship with BP.
On 11 May 2010, at 17:43, Penelope Curtis wrote:
Dear Mark Bran
I realise that I have been slow in responding to your note of 3 March but I only arrived in post on April 6 and I wanted to understand the situation more thoroughly.
Your point has since been reviewed internally and I feel better able now to make a response. Obviously things have also changed in recent weeks so as to make the situation more topical. The Ethics Committee has met and considered the balance of the argument. As I am sure you know Tate works with a wide range of corporate organisations, but BP has been one of the most consistent supporters over the last seventeen years. At the present time BP support enables Tate to further its charitable objectives in important ways in relation to the Collection. Without BP’s support Tate would be less able to show the collection in a changing and stimulating way. Given that the majority of Tate’ s funding is self generated, it is necessary for the gallery to work across a wide range of corporate organisations and the sponsorship policy is regularly reviewed by the Trustees. The points you raise are important ones and I hope you don’t feel they have not been taken into consideration.
Dr Penelope Curtis?Director?Tate Britain?Millbank?London SW1P 4RG; www.tate.org.uk Please note that any information sent, received or held by Tate may be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Sent: 12 May 2010 15:59
To: Penelope Curtis
Subject: Tate Britain, BP and the Ethics Committee
Dear Penelope Curtis,
Thanks for writing back.
Am I to understand that the Ethics Committee has looked at BP and deemed it sufficiently ethical to be associated with the Tate? I thought the sponsorship criteria mention that sponsorship should not be accepted from companies that damage the Tate brand. It seems to me that your relationship with BP needs to come to an end for precisely that reason, with Deepwater Horizon one in a continuing series of disasters with BP at their heart.
It would be very good to hear your responses to these questions.
On 13 May 2010, at 11:37, Penelope Curtis wrote:
Dear Mark Brown
On balance the Committee took the view that Tate gained more from BP's sponsorship in achieving its charitable objectives than it lost.
Sent: 13 May 2010 13:49
To: Penelope Curtis
Subject: Re: Tate Britain, BP and the Ethics Committee
Your admission that something is lost as well as gained in your relationship with BP is admirably frank.
Is it possible that the Tate's charitable objectives could be advanced admirably with BP's money, while outside the world is plagued with resource wars, oil-devastated oceans and coastlines, injured or killed oilworkers and a potentially catastrophic surfeit of CO2 in the atmosphere, the responsbility for which lies in part at the door of that very same BP? Does what takes place outside the citadel that is Tate not feature in the decision-making of the Ethics Committee? If not, is that Committee held back from doing what is right by legal restrictions forcing it to act only in the interests of Tate itself? If so, how can we help change that situation?
Thanks for your time,
On 20 May 2010, at 11:33, Penelope Curtis wrote:
Dear Mark Brown
I am afraid the volume of requests about BP will now preclude the possibility of a more personal discussion. I think you will find a statement issued on behalf of the organisation as a whole going out in response to questions such as yours.
Dr Penelope Curtis?Director?Tate Britain?Millbank?London SW1P 4RG
Just to say good luck to all of us in making cultural institutions climate-friendly for this new decade.
Please let me know if there's ever an opportunity to make a representation to the Ethics Committee about BP's wider societal and ecological impact.
This letter was sent by a participant in the 'Disobedience' workshop concerning Tate's March 19th symposium
'Rising to the climate challenge: artists and scientists imagine tomorrow's world'.
Subject: Tate Modern Symposium on 20 March: Oil-free Tate by 2012? Date: Fri, 05 Mar 2010 09:53:33 +0000
From: Barry Mason < email@example.com>
To: Robert Bloomfield Agnes Denes Professor Brian Hoskins Luca Orta Professor Corinne le Quere Professor Steve Rayner Tomas Saraceno
Rising to the Climate Challenge: Oil free Tate by 2012?
I'm so looking forward to this. Thank you. The symposium includes the chance to formulate propositions for change, whilst imagining the social and psychological impacts of climate change. I've been a huge admirer of Tate even since I settled in London as a very young 18 year-old. I've grown up with the Tate as it's changed into a world leader, taste-changer and opinion former. The symposium on 20 March gives us all a unique and unmissable opportunity to do something very positive and very visible about climate change. It's time for positive action. Since...
*Tate's new Taking Tate Forward policy document says "our priorities to 2012 include wanting to be a leader in sustainability and setting a great example..."
*Tate has now appointed internal Green Champions to ensure recycling etc. in their offices etc
*progressive opinion-forming UK institutions need to start doing much more about climate change and energy use very soon
*increasing numbers of Tate Members, Tate staff and local Southwark people feel strongly about the point... ...it would seem essential and world-exemplary for us to help Tate wean itself off oil company sponsorship in time for the opening of the Tate Modern 2 in 2012 - and the hugely symbolic conversion of the three massive clover-leaf underground oil tanks into public art space. Art not oil.
So, a great, doable, effective, leadership action from this symposium would be to get all present to very publically agree to help Tate make that move to new areas of funding and away from fossil fuel money, in just the same way that museums and galleries dropped tobacco sponsorship 10 years ago. A big pointer to a better world. And I'll be saying all this at the symposium and asking the room to vote on that proposition. It would be wonderful if you, as a Panel member, could back this timely move too.
Very best wishes.
Barry Mason Tate Member 56256 Rotherhithe London SE16 7FJ 07905 889 005
And this letter was sent to many Tate employees in early March:
Dear Penelope Curtis,
It looks as if BP's involvement in oil tar sands is triggering a strong wave of civil society unrest. It seems positive change is afoot, and if the Tate was to jump in ahead of the game and refuse to take any more sponsorship from such sources, it would receive widespread acclaim. How about it? I would be very grateful if this issue could be discussed at the next meeting of Tate Trustees. Please let me know if and when this takes place.
Yours in hope,
Mark Brown from Art Not Oil
1.) Urgent action request: is your pension fuelling climate change?
This spring, your pension provider will use shareholdings in BP and Shell held on your behalf to vote for – or against – a resolution on one of the biggest single factors driving climate change. You have the opportunity to influence their vote.
Tar sands are among the world’s dirtiest fuels: their extraction produces on average three times the greenhouse gases of conventional oil. The pollution, deforestation and wildlife disturbance associated with tar sands developments also threaten the traditional livelihoods and wellbeing of indigenous communities.
Tar sands developments could also put pension savings at risk: industry analysts increasingly warn that tar sands could be long-term loss-makers.
The resolutions are already supported by some major investors, but we need you to use the power of your pension or savings to force a review of this damaging and risky activity. You can express your concerns directly to your pension provider or (if you don't have one) by emailing one of BP and Shell's largest shareholders.
* End of Fair Pensions text *
This Greenpeace tar sands video on Tar Sands is quite a punchy (and polemical) intro:
2.) I'd also really recommend Rena Effendi's photography from BP's Baku-Ceyhan pipeline: www.refendi.com
This short film of her work with her commentary is terrific:
3.) This recent piece from the Sunday Telegraph looks at the impacts of BP's Casanare pipeline;
(I have the pdf with photographs in case that would be of interest):