Activists 'Tar and Feather' BP-Sponsored Tate (Video)

anti bp protest tate britain museum photo

A previous protest held April 1, 2009, at the Tate Britain. Photo via Indymedia London

Artists angry about BP's devastating spill in the Gulf of Mexico created an "oil slick" of their own Monday in front of the Tate Britain in London, protesting the museum's acceptance of sponsorship from the company. Members of the group said they hoped oil-company funding of cultural events would soon become "socially unacceptable" -- much in the way that tobacco-company money is shunned now.

While revelers inside the museum enjoyed the Tate's annual summer party -- held "partly to mark 20 years of support from the oil giant," the BBC reported -- figures clad and veiled in black marched in a funereal manner toward the entrance, carrying black buckets bearing BP's cheery sunflower logo. When they reached the gates of the museum, they dumped a sticky black substance (apparently molasses) from the buckets and tossed feathers into it from bags they carried on their shoulders.

Video via Telegraph TV

According to the BBC, "the group, calling itself The Good Crude Britannia, is calling for the gallery to sever ties with the company over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill."

Jane Trowell, of environmental arts campaign group Platform, said: "BP is trying to repair its tarnished reputation and buy our approval by associating itself with culturally important institutions like Tate." She added that she hoped it would soon be "socially unacceptable" for cultural institutions to accept funding from oil companies.

More than 170 leading artists and figures in Britain's art world have also written an open letter protesting the relationship, calling the BP logo "a stain on the Tate's international reputation" and corporate sponsorship a means by which companies can gain "social legitimacy" to distract the public "from their impacts on human rights, the environment and the global climate."

It's not the first time artists and activists have targeted the museum over its links to BP. Last month, The Guardian reports, "a group called Liberate Tate entered the gallery's main turbine hall and released dozens of black balloons attached to dead fish in protest against the Gulf oil spill. Gallery staff had to shoot the balloons down with air rifles."

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