Liberate Tate: New Protest Highlights Tate’s Relationship With Oil Giant BP

Liberate Tate

The art collective Liberate Tate are back with another protest highlighting the Tate’s relationship with the oil giant BP. A participatory performance in conversation with Tate’s refusal to disclose the amount of money it receives from BP is on the agenda on 6 September, 1pm. The exact Tate location has yet to be disclosed.

The art collective Liberate Tate are inviting people to a piece of participatory performance art.  Later in September, Tate will be appearing before the Information Tribunal to appeal a ruling that ordered Tate to reveal discussions that have taken place over the controversial subject of BP sponsorship. The Liberate Tate website currently features an image of the Black Square from the current Malevich retrospective at Tate and says: “We’re going to play a game with Tate. It’s sort of like hide and seek…We want Tate to reveal the exact amount of money they get from BP – it’s estimated to be less than 0.5% of their annual budget. Do you want to join us? While Tate holds a Malevich Retrospective exhibition, we’re going to ask, what would radical, revolutionary Malevich think of BP, and what could we do with a Black Square of our own?”

In March 2014 the Information Commissioner ruled that Tate was breaking information law on several counts by refusing to remove redactions from committee minutes discussing the controversial issue of BP sponsorship. Tate appealed the ruling in April 2014. Yasmin De Silva of Liberate Tate said: “There are hundreds of interpretations of Malevich’s iconic ‘Black Square’.  Our performance references Tate’s culture of secrecy that stifles vital debate about its controversial relation with the oil company BP. It’s important the public can know how much money Tate is getting from BP because it shows how much of an option it is for Tate to drop that sponsorship. We suspect it’s a pretty small amount of money compared to Tate’s overall budget, and that’s why Tate is fighting tooth and nail to stop the figure from being made public.”

Liberate Tate, alongside many other people within the cultural sector, has called on Tate to drop sponsorship from BP because of the company’s appalling record of oil spills, environmental and human rights controversies, and its role in exacerbating climate change.

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