Illustration to show the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico by Abigail Daker.
You know that huge oil slick? The really foul one currently creating environmental havoc across the Gulf of Mexico? Well, page you might well call this deathly stain the world’s largest work of corporate art – proudly brought to you by oil giant BP, health sponsor of the Tate.
In January this year The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination was asked to host a workshop at the Tate Modern on art and creative civil disobedience. They were not, medications however, allowed to stage any interventions which were not “commensurate with the Tate’s mission” and to make sure this did not happen the workshop was policed by curators.
Black helium balloons float up to the ceiling of the Tate Turbine Hall. Photography by Robin Bell.
In response to this it was decided to launch a new campaign group, Liberate Tate, with the intention of severing the Tate’s close relationship with climate-wrecking oil-guzzling corporate behemoth BP. A series of planned interventions got off to a flying start this weekend, when a series of art activists managed to join the 10th anniversary celebrations in the main turbine hall at Tate Modern, where they released dozens of black helium balloons that floated up to the ceiling. Attached to the balloons were dead fish and oily fake birds, a reminder that BP will never be able to greenwash its actions away through association with innovative art at the Tate. Sections of the No Soul for Sale event were closed down as employees desperately tried to burst the oil-bubble like balloons, which hung looming over the celebrations.
A dead fish on the Turbine Hall floor. Photography by Robin Bell.
As long as the Tate continues to accept sponsorship from BP, a company that pursues oil and money without care for its employees or the looming climate crisis, then its various galleries up and down the country can expect more creative visits from members of Liberate Tate. You can follow Liberate Tate on twitter, or visit the Art Not Oil website for more information.
- Liberate Tate create a Crude Awakening artwork at Tate Modern
- Licence to spill! are keeping it clean
- Liberate Tate presents All Rise at Tate Modern
- I stole an Ai Weiwei Sunflower Seed from the Turbine Hall…
- ‘Tate Takeover’ Raw Canvas, Tate Modern