The Great BP-Sponsored Tate Modern Sleep In

Protesters angry at BP’s failures over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill descend on Tate Modern on Sunday in protest at the gallery’s links with the beleaguered oil giant.

Next Wednesday will see the anniversary of the Gulf spill, and direct action groups London Rising Tide and Art Not Oil are planning a flashmob at Tate Modern to commemorate the disaster.

The group is using Facebook and Twitter to mobilise followers to attend the highly visual protest. Hundreds of people took part in a ‘BP-sponsored sleep-in’ among the art works and visitors of the gallery.

At 2:15PM exactly the participants spontaneously broke from the crowds to don BP branding and fall asleep on the gallery floor.

The protest was to remind Tate members and visitors that the gallery is sponsored by BP, and express a wider concern that sponsorship of the arts helps to distract public attention from the environmental damage the oil
company causes, including the Gulf spill.

The event was aimed at damaging BP’s brand, and comes as the company has mounted a major PR campaign in an effort to deflect criticism around the anniversary of the oil spill. At its annual general meeting, the
company faced an angry coalition of shareholders, campaigners and residents from the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian tar sands.

Tony Cottee of Rising Tide said: “Sponsorship of galleries such as Tate is one of the most important ways BP tries to buy the public’s acceptance and make people forget about disasters such as the Gulf of Mexico spill. We are here to make sure they don’t get away with it, and to warn Tate that their own reputation is at risk through their association with such a damaged and damaging company.”

He continued: “It’s clear that BP has learnt nothing over the last year. The time has now come for Tate to say, ‘enough is enough’, and break off their relationship with BP once and for all.”

The protest is part of a week of direct action against BP-sponsored cultural institutions, coordinated by groups including London Rising Tide, Art Not Oil, London Climate Camp, Climate Rush and Liberate Tate.

Produced by You and I Films.

Top story What a Disaster (Tuesday 19 April 2011).

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