Pouring oil on spilt sugar?

There have been numerous outpourings of articles and editorials on the protests over BP’s sponsorship of the arts over the past couple of days, most notably in the Guardian’s G2 who asked leading cultural figures for their views [Crude awakening] and the Telegraph [Our art. Their money. So what’s new].

Much of this press was inspired by a letter to the Guardian earlier this week from a group of artists, calling themselves Good Crude Britannia, protesting at the celebration 20 years of BP sponsorship at the Tate Britain‘s summer party. These 141artists represent a cross-section of people from the arts community who “believe that the BP logo represents a stain on Tate’s international reputation.”

Have they forgotten why the Tate Britian is called the Tate? The benefactor who set up the museum was the Tate of Tate & Lyle, the sugar giants. And they relied on slave workers in their plantations in Barbados – although they were not involved in the slave trade, as some people think. That was abolished some 50 years before their time.

And art has alway relied on dubious patronage…and will have to again when the full ramifications of the ConDemNation’s cuts become reality…


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