AgiTate

The performances of art activists Liberate Tate are celebrated in a new postcard collection.

February 27, 2011 · 3 min read

Beginning in May 2010, in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, art activists Liberate Tate staged a dramatic series of performances in cultural institutions to protest against oil companies such as BP and Shell sponsoring gallery spaces. Gushing from floral skirts, spilling elegantly from giant white eggs, jetting from paint tubes across the floor of the iconic Tate Turbine Hall, the flood of oily resistance that followed has generated a fierce debate in the art world around oil, ethics and sponsorship.

Working in association with Platform and Art Not Oil, these performance-interventions have been documented in the postcard pack ‘Liberate Tate: Collected Works 2010’. The sales of these packs are being used to fund a participatory event/exhibition in an art space in 2011 that will provide a space for planning more actions of creative resistance.

‘As crude oil continues to devastate coastlines and communities in the Gulf of Mexico, BP executives will be enjoying a cocktail reception with curators and artists at Tate Britain. These relationships enable big oil companies to mask the environmentally destructive nature of their activities with the social legitimacy that is associated with such high‑profile cultural associations.’
A letter in the Guardian signed by 171 people in the art world on the day of the Tate summer party celebrating 20 years of BP sponsorship

‘We are seeing a terrifyingly high rate of cancer in Fort Chipewyan where I live. We are convinced that these cancers are linked to the Tar Sands development on our doorstep. It is shortening our lives. That’s why we no longer call it “dirty oil” but “bloody oil”. The blood of Fort Chipewyan people is on these companies’ hands.’
George Poitras, a former chief of Mikisew Cree First Nation, Canada, attending the BP annual general meeting in 2010

The ‘Liberate Tate: Collected Works 2010’ postcard books are available at the online New Internationalist shop, or you can send £5 on Paypal to kevin@platformlondon.org

If you would like to be involved with Liberate Tate, email liberatetate@gmail.com


Review – Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors

D Hunter's 'Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors' is an exploration of working-class struggle and strength, writes Liam Kennedy

Bank Job directors Daniel and Hilary

Review – Bank Job

Jake Woodier reviews a new documentary film that brings heist aesthetics to a story of debt activism

Review – National Theatre Connections 2020: Plays for young people

From climate change to the perils of the information era, the collection powerfully explores the struggles facing contemporary teenagers, writes Jordana Belaiche


Love Island stars advertising various products

That’s advertainment: reality TV and product placement

Sophie Benson explores the insidious role of unethical advertising in reality TV – and in the offscreen careers of its stars

Review – I Want to Believe: Posadism, UFOs and apocalypse communism by A M Gittlitz

Despite its outlandish reputation, A M Gittlitz's analysis of Posadism shows there is value in occasionally indulging in fanciful thinking, writes Dawn Foster.

Will the beat go on?

Gerry Hart reports on lockdown, gentrification and the face of Newcastle's live music