A group of art activists this week staged an unsanctioned protest inside the world-famous Tate Modern museum in London by pouring oil over a naked body lying on the floor.
Wearing black hoods, two of the artists slowly pour the oil from gas cans painted with the BP logo over the fetal form of a third member lying naked. A Bach piece in minor plays underneath the video, which is safe for work.
The group behind the protest is called Liberate Tate, whose aim is to get the museum to break off ties with BP and stop taking sponsorship payola from the oil giant. The group was formed in 2010 during a workshop on art and activism that the museum itself sponsored. “The art activists running the workshops,” says the group on its website, “were told by Tate curators that no interventions could be made against the museum’s sponsors. The workshop participants refused this censorship, ended the workshop with an intervention and decided to continue their work together, setting up Liberate Tate the following spring.”
“Liberate Tate believes Tate’s sponsorship by BP, a corporation engaged in socially and ecologically destructive activities, is incompatible with the museum’s ethical guidelines,” continues the group’s statement. “Tate’s stated vision in regard to sustainability and climate change and its reputation as a progressive institution is damaged by its association with oil companies. In addition, Tate’s mission is undermined if visitors to its galleries cannot enjoy great art without the museum making them complicit in creating climate chaos. Liberate Tate calls on the museum’s governing body to recognise this and end its relationship with BP.”
My favorite part is watching the museum staff hurriedly pull a divider across the scene and ineffectually try to clean up the oil, because it reminds me of something.
Artists Stage an Oily Protest in the Tate Modern [GOOD] (Thanks to c-side!)