By Mel Evans
Released at the 5th anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, Artwash is an intervention into the unsavoury position of the massive Oil company’s sponsorship of the humanities in Britain. in response to a excessive profile crusade, Mel Evans objectives Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell’s collaboration with associations corresponding to the Tate in an try and finish the toxic courting ceaselessly. in accordance with years of undercover examine, grassroots research and activism in addition to functionality and cultural interventions, Mel Evans attracts jointly the tale of the crusade and its trip which has long past from energy to power. The time period ‘Artwash’ is on the centre of the argument: it describes how company sponsorship of the humanities erases unpleasant environmental destruction and obscures the innovations of oil corporation PR executives who depend upon cultural philanthropy. the belief sounds a observe of desire: significant associations (such because the Southbank Centre) have already agreed to chop sponsorship, and tribunals are occurring that are taking those relationships to activity. Artists and staff are constructing new equipment of labor which publicly confront the oil businesses. just like the anti-tobacco crusade ahead of it, this may be a huge cultural and political flip for future years.
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Additional info for Artwash: Big Oil and the Arts
Note the surprise candidates, the sharp guttural reactions, and the warm fuzzy feelings in response. These revered tags at the gates of cultural institutions become a seed of hope not to be forgotten in the history books. The array of names has shifted between different sectors over decades. Various industries have experienced successive urges to seek peace with a critical public. While family endowments and legacies continue, company sponsorships shift and swap with the changing weather of public opinion.
The specific allure of British cultural institutions – the largest and most internationally influential of which are found in London – to both BP and Shell, is the connections to political, financial and consumer market power that the city provides. Nationally, neither company has sponsored the arts – except BP’s association with Tate as a national group of galleries and its brief sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company, based in Stratfordupon-Avon, but regularly performing in London. The focus on the arts is absolutely on the capital.
7 By making this statement over fifteen years before tobacco sponsorship was outlawed, Tate played a role in the growing cultural shift away from arms and tobacco sponsorship, influencing public policy rather than adhering to laws only once in effect. The social stigmatisation of arms sponsorship continues. Member-funded civil society organisation Campaign Against Arms Trade, among others, accelerates the ethical journey of institutions that hold arms sponsorship deals, which includes the London Transport Museum and the Imperial War Museum, in a project they call ‘Disarming the Gallery’.
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