More than 100 protestors hand-delivered a 1.5-ton wind turbine blade to London’s Tate Modern art museum to publicly decry BP’s sponsorship of the gallery last weekend. The oil giant spends more than £1 million on sponsoring British art institutions like the Tate, National Gallery, and Royal Opera House.
The 54-foot blade, which came from a decommissioned wind turbine in Wales, was presented by Liberate Tate, an art collective. The blade was carried across the Thames Millennium Bridge before being officially gifted to the Tate with a request for it to be included in the permanent collection. Liberate Tate is calling the blade a “communiqué and performance documentation.”
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Liberate Tate maintains that the public feels uneasy with art institutions accepting dirty oil money from BP. The collective says more than 8,000 people have signed a petition to Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, expressing their disgust of the financial entanglement between BP and the museum. The open letter states:
“There is a contradiction in Tate being committed to climate action while also being heavily associated to a company whose business model is binding us to a catastrophically dangerous future and outdated energy model. This association is damaging to Tate’s reputation and its relationship with an increasingly climate-conscious general public.”
A few months after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Liberate Tate began ramping up public protests against Tate’s engagement with BP. The performances included pouring gallons of molasses down stairs at a party, soaking a naked performer with an oil-like substance and releasing helium balloons with dead fish attached.
A spokeswoman for the Tate said that the blade was removed by security staff. No word on whether the museum has decided if the blade will be put on display.