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Monday, May 17, 2010

Pressure grows on the Tate to ditch BP by 2012

Many artists are displaying their work in support for Art Not Oil on their website;

Pressure grows on the Tate to ditch BP by 2012

Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 07 March 2010

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?'

Serota: 'The first thing to say is we have support from BP, which as a company is looking at renewable energy as well as using up fossil fuels and using oil. We have long had support from them and are not intending to abandon it. But we are committed to addressing issues posed by climate change. Tate has made some big strides in terms of carbon reduction and bringing that to the attention of other people in the world.'
Taken from:

Picture shows 'Disobedience Makes History' workshop participants using the windows of
Tate Modern to make their feelings known, 30.1.10
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 insistence that public art institutions bring in funding from the private sector is looking less clever now.
Post crash, sponsorship has evaporated, threatening the survival of those, like the Institute of Contemporary
Arts, that came to rely on it. Even the most powerful institutions, such as Tate Modern,
are now so timid when it comes to their sponsors that it affects their programming.
What, then, might another model of funding look like?
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:
John Jordan on what happened when Tate programmed a workshop on disobedience 'What is it about the word "disobedience" that the institutional art world doesn't understand? Last autumn the Nikolaj Contemporary Art Centre in Copenhagen dropped the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination's Bike Bloc project when it realised that the "tools of civil disobedience" that we were going to build were not gestures but actual tools and tactics for the protest actions around the UN's COP15 Climate Change Conference. The curator told us that she feared that the museum's funders, the City of Copenhagen, would not support any "illegal" activity. It seemed that she had assumed we would pretend to do politics.'
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 <>
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... 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?

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