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Holmes & Watson pursue BP in British Museum

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the oily museum - Kristian Buus

On Sunday 8th February at 3pm, twenty people entered the British Museum and launched into a guerrilla theatre performance in the Great Court, in front of surprised Museum-goers and staff. The pop-up play – featuring Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson and a unit of bumbling police officers – challenged the Museum’s controversial funding relationship with BP. The oil company is officially the world’s biggest corporate criminal, having received the largest criminal fine in history ($4.5 billion) in November 2012 for its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.


Carols Not Barrels for Rembrandt, (21.12.14)

10 responses to pro-oil sponsorship arguments

Legal victory: Court orders Tate to disclose BP sponsorship figures

  • Information Tribunal gives Tate 35 days to disclose sums of BP sponsorship from 1990-2006

  • Tate argued in court that disclosure of internal decision-making details would cause further protests and so risk to health risk to health; Tribunal “wholly unpersuaded” by this argument

  • Tribunal ruling criticises Tate’s “protracted, misguided reliance on [an irrelevant] document”, as well as “mistaken” and “somewhat fanciful” use of Freedom of Information exemptions over details of internal decision-making.

2014: ten moments of a culture beyond oil

'Don't let Shell rebrand Rembrandt!', 16.10.14


From the BP or not BP? facebook page -

'Tonight, 50 of us sang, chanted, spoke and performed outside Shell's swanky private party at the National Gallery. As senior Shell executives, Gallery management and their guests (including Greg Barker MP) shuffled into the building, we read out, together, in a unison they could not ignore, the words of frontline activists fighting against Shell around the world. 

Musical protest disrupts launch of National Gallery exhibition

National Gallery taken to task in song for Shell sponsorship and proposed privatisation on eve of staff strike

At 11.25 on Tuesday morning, the official media launch of the National Gallery’s Shell-sponsored Rembrandt exhibition was interrupted by an unexpected musical protest. Ten performers (from the Art Not Oil coalition groups BP or not BP? and Shell Out Sounds) launched into a energetic reworked musical version of Dr. Faustus in front of surprised journalists, staff and gallery-goers.

Tate and oil: does the art world need to come clean about sponsorship? (Gdn, 8.10.14)

In a cramped second-floor room in an office block mostly used for immigration hearings, one of the most famous museums in the world is fighting to keep a secret. In March, the Information Commissioner ruled that Tate must, against its wishes, reveal some of what was said in meetings where the latest of several sponsorship deals with oil giant BP was discussed. The museum appealed, and now its lawyers are here to make the case for being exempted from the Freedom of Information Act, which would otherwise oblige disclosure.

Stop the Gallery of Greenwash! (16.10.14)


On Thursday 16th October, Shell is celebrating its sponsorship of the National Gallery's new Rembrandt exhibition, with an exclusive 'gala evening' for special guests and highly ranked staff! With a meagre contribution to the gallery, Shell is buying social legitimacy for its dodgy deeds worldwide, including...

- its failure to clean up its multiple spills in the Niger Delta
- its reckless plans to drill in the Arctic for yet more oil
- its tar sands projects in Canada that are undermining Indigenous people's rights

Deepwater Horizon Spill brought to British Museum

Photo by Anna Branthwaite

On Sunday 21st September, around seventy people entered the British Museum and used costumes, masks, and black material to recreate BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, in front of surprised Museum-goers and staff. The performance was organised by theatrical protest group “BP or nor BP?” to challenge BP’s ongoing sponsorship of the Museum, and was timed to coincide with the biggest global demonstration ever for climate action.The protesters gathered in the Great Court of the Museum at 10.45am, just outside the newly-opened BP-sponsored Ming exhibition.


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