Friday, 2 July 2010



A letter was published today signed by 171 figures from the art world condemning BP's sponsorship of cultural institutions in the UK. The letter has been published on the day that Tate Britain is hosting a party to celebrate 20 years of BP's sponsorship. [1] A group of artists under the banner of 'The Good Crude Britannia' are planning on protesting outside the event, and will be handing out the "Licence to Spill' briefing to people attending the party. [2]

Arts/activist organisation Platform [3] has gathered 171 signatories from the international arts community, for a letter that says:

"As crude oil continues to devastate coastlines and communities in the Gulf of Mexico, BP executives will be enjoying a cocktail reception with curators and artists in the Tate Britain. These relationships enable big oil companies to mask the environmentally destructive nature of their activities with the social legitimacy
that is associated with such high profile cultural associations." [4]

Some of the signatories include:
*Hans Haacke, German-American conceptual artist whose work has featured on numerous occasions in Tate exhibitions
*John Keane, who was the official British war artist during the first Gulf War and who was a judge on the 2004 BP-sponsored portrait award at the National Portrait Gallery
*Sonia Boyce, MBE, whose works are held in the collection of the Tate Modern

Hans Haacke, one of the signatories said: "Since taxpayers (through their elected representatives) do not adequately fund cultural institutions, it has become routine for corporate sponsors with PR needs to fill the gap. This arrangement often creates conflicts between the public good and a sponsor's agenda. It is rare, however, that these conflicts are recognized and publicly debated, as it is now with BP and the Tate Gallery."

Electronic artist Matthew Herbert, also a signatory said: "The oily tentacles of both BP and Shell have wrapped themselves around our most prestigious cultural institutions and at a time when urgent action is required to slow consumption of fossil fuels. In trading our cultural legacies so nakedly for such tainted cash, some of Britain's most powerful stages for creative expression have knowingly undermined the very integrity of that expression."

Kevin Smith from Platform said: "This letter is testament to the extent of the discomfort felt in the arts by the Tate's ongoing relationship with BP. The ongoing ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico should be the game changer that finally ends the ability of the oil industry to legitimise itself through arts and cultural sponsorship."


For interviews and more information:

On Sunday 27 June, call 0207 700 7971
On Monday call Platform: 0207 403 3738 or 07790 430 620 /

Some of the signatories are available for comment

[1] News of the party was first leaked on Thursday. See the PR; 'Leaked invite reveals Tate's ill-timed plans to celebrate BP; sponsorship' at; reveals-tate's-ill-timed-plans-celebrate-bp-sponsorship
[2] The Good Crude Britannia is a national artists' campaign against BP sponsorship of Tate. We are calling all concerned artists to; either sign the petition and/or support the 'campaign' which is to be: launched on Monday 28th June 2010 at Tate Britain's Summer Party, 7-9pm.!/group.php?gid=126083700763469; 'Licence to Spill' is available at:
[3] Platform works across disciplines for social and ecological; justice. It combines the transformatory power of art with the; tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with; the vision to promote alternative futures.
[4] The letter and full list of signatories:

Tonight, the Tate is holding a summer party in which it is also celebrating 20 years of BP sponsorship. As crude oil continues to devastate coastlines and communities in the Gulf of Mexico, BP executives will be enjoying a cocktail reception with curators and artists in the Tate Britain. These relationships enable big oil
> companies to mask the environmentally destructive nature of their activities with the social legitimacy that is associated with such high profile cultural associations.

We represent a cross section of people from the arts community that believe that the BP logo represents a stain on Tate's international reputation. Many artists are angry that Tate and other national cultural institutions continue to side step the issue of oil sponsorship. Little more than a decade ago, tobacco companies were seen as respectable partners for public institutions to gain support from - that is no longer the case. It is our hope that oil and gas will soon be seen in the same light. The public is rapidly coming to recognise that the sponsorship programmes of BP and Shell are means by which attention can be distracted from their impacts on human rights, the environment and the global climate.

1.Hans Haacke, artist
2. John Keane, artist
3. Caryl Churchill, playwright
4. Matthew Herbert, electronic artist and composer
5. Suzi Gablik, art critic and writer
6. Gordon Roddick, art philanthopist
7. Rebecca Solnit, writer and art critic
8. Lucy R. Lippard, writer and curator
9. Davey Anderson, playwright
10. Adam Chodzko, artist
11. Beverly Naidus, artist and professor
12. Suzanne Lacy, artist
13. Chris Jordan, artist
14. Cat Phillipps, artist
15. Martin Rowson, cartoonist
16. Robert Newman, comedian and writer
17. Sonia Boyce, artist, MBE
18. Barbara Steveni, artist & initiator of Artist Placement Group
19. Peter Fend, artist
20. SaiMuRai (Simon Murray), writer, poet, artist
21. Ackroyd & Harvey, artists
22. Aidan Jolly, musician, community artist
23. Jon Sack, artist
24. Matthew Lee Knowles, composer
25. Theodore Price, artist
26. Scott Massey, artist
27. Ben Mellor, writer, performer, educator
28. The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home, artist collective
29. David Haley FRSA, ecological artist and Senior Research Fellow
30. Alana Jelinek, artist & curator
31. Rachel Anderson, creative producer
32. John Volynchook, photographer
33. Jackie Brookner, artist
34. Suzanne Lacy, artist
35. Neil Callaghan, artist
36. Jonathan Baxter, artist and arts organizer
37. Mark McGowan, artist
38. Catrin Evans, artistic director and theatre practitioner
39. James Stenhouse, artist
40. Charlie Fox, artist and producer
41. Roxanne Permar, artist
42. Jane Lawson, artist
43. John Jordan, artist and writer
44. Hemant Anant Jain, illustrator
45. The Space Hijackers, art interventionists
46. Clare Patey artist/curator
47. Matthias von Hartz, Director Hamburg International Festival
48. Lois Keidan, Live art Development Agency
49. Lucy Neal, artist and producer
50. Lise Autogena, artist
51. Marcelo Expósito, artist and critic
52. Steve Duncombe, cultural theorist/writer
53. Cameron Davis, artist and professor of art at Vermont University
54. Kim Stringfellow, artist/associate professor, SDSU
55. Ros Martin, poet and playwright
56. Amy Balkin, artist
57. John Hartley, artist
58. Amber Hickey, artist
59. Christian Nold, artist
60. Isabeau Doucet, painter
61. Jean Grant, creative director
62. Hayley Newman, artist
63. Christian de Sousa, artist and photographer
64. Immo Klink, artist
65. Susan Kelly, artist and art lecturer
66. Aviv Kruglanski, artist
67. Steve Stuffit, artist
68. Helen Spackman, artistic director and senior lecturer in performing arts
69. Lorena Rivero de Beer, artist
70. Janey Hunt, artist
71. Gregory Sholette, artist and writer
72. Mem Morrison, artistic director
73. Lars Kwakkenbos, artist and writer
74. Tom Besley, producer
75. PLATFORM, arts/activist organization
76. Fran Crowe, artist
77. Sharon Salazar, filmmaker/director
78. Leah Gordon, photographer, filmmaker and curator
79. Alke Schmidt, artist
80. Monika Vykoukal, curator
81. CJ Mitchell, deputy director of Live Art Development Agency
82. Julian Maynard Smith, director of Station House Opera
83. Sue Palmer, artist
84. Brett Bloom, artist
85. Kerry Burton, artist
86. The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, art/activist collective
87. Anna Francis, artist
88. Ana Betancour, artist and architect
89. Simone Paterson, new media artist and academic
90. Ian Teh, photographer
91. Alejandro Meitin, artist
92. Simone Kenyon, artist and producer
93. Milena Placentile, curator
94. Nick Turner, artist and designer
95. Fabio Sassi, artist
96. Ruth Ewan, artist
97. Raoul Martinez, artist
98. Robert McAdam, painter
99. Katy Fattuhi, arts marketer
100. John Holt, artist and writer
101. Katy Hallett, Director, Art Programme
102. Judy Price, artist
103. Stephanie Thieullent, photographer, artist
104. Felix Gonzales, filmmaker, artist
105. Rafael Santos, artist
106. Adrian Arbib, photographer
107. Ian Hunter, Director, Littoral
108. Ele Carpenter, curator
109. Helene Aylon, activist artist
110. Pamela Graham, artist
111. Louise Jones, director, Lemon Street Gallery
112. Ciel Bergman, artist/environmental activist
113. Glauco Bermudez, Cinematographer
114. Marianne Soisalo, artist
115. Mariana Bassani, photographer
116. Michele Petillo, artist
117. Siobhan Mckeown, artist
118. ZEV, tex/sound artist
119. Mira Schor, artist and writer
120. Judith Knight, Director, Artsadmin
121. Gill Lloyd, Director, Artsadmin
123. Danielle Frank, artist
124. Stuart Bracewell, artist.
125. Beverley Dale, Digital Artist
126. Vahida Ramujkic, Artist
127. Mark Vallen - painter, printmaker, writer
128. Toni Martinez-Solera, artist
129. Lucy Fairley, Artist
130. Noel Douglas artist, designer, activist
131. Gareth Evans, writer and curator
132. Stevphen Shukaitis, arts /media/cultural publisher
133. Kuljit Chuhan, Creative producer and digital media artist
134. Calum F. Kerr, artist
135. Lisa Wesley, artist
136. Jody Boehnert, designer, artist and writer
137. Heide Fasnacht, visual artist
138. Michelle Jaffé, artist
139. Jan Brooks, artist
140. Peter Harrison, propeller arts collective
141. Deanne Belinoff, artist
142. Michelle Waters, artist
143. Fern Shaffer, artist
144. Harmony Hammond, artist and art writer
145. Simon Whetham, sound artist
146. Mimi Poskitt, director
147. Micheala Crimmin, curator and critic
148. Wallace Heim, writer and academic
149. Ciel Bergman, painter
150. Ali Sparror - artist
151. Lucy Reeves - Film designer
152. The Vacuum Cleaner, art/activist,
153. Robby Herbst, artist
154. Anja Steidinger, visual artist
155. Claire Hildreth, photographer
156. Loraine Leeson, artist
157. Kayle Brandon, artist
158. Peter Offord, artist
159. Julie Green, painter
160. Murray Wason, artist
161. Christina Moore, production designer
162. Emma Byron, artist and performer
163. Miche Fabre Lewin, artist-cuisiuniere
164. Kate Rich, artist
165. Madeleine Hodge, artist and curator
166. Kirstin Forkert, artist
167. Martin Nakell, poet, fictionalist
168. Liam Hurley, writer, theatre director, story teller
169. Mike Perry, artist
170. Phil Maxwell & Hazuan Hashim, artists
171. Greg Pact, artist

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