May 16, 2010. Editor's Note:
The Tate Modern in London is celebrating its first 10 years in the Turbine Hall with an arts festival from May 14 - 16 that includes No Soul For Sale – A Festival of Independents (imported from its first outing at X-Initiative in New York), as well as an extended calendar of performances, processions and other similarly minded fare.
This is being accomplished with the support of BP, one of the Tate's major sponsors, devoted to atavistic oil exploration and currently responsible for cleaning up the ecological disaster of their ever expanding Gulf oil spill.
Some art activists cannot accept the tainted source of the Tate's BP funding. Hence the following communique.
LIBERATE TATE COMMUNIQUE #1 MAY 2010
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.