Signed artist’s print by Conrad Atkinson; buy yours now and support Liberate Tate
Artist Conrad Atkinson has produced a limited edition print to support the activities of Liberate Tate. The new A1 sized work For BP is now available to buy in a limited edition of 75. All the funds raised from the sale of this print will support the work of Liberate Tate. As a group concerned with issues around ethical funding choices, it is important that we raise our own funds responsibly. Liberate Tate members are dedicated to continuing our voluntary work to free art from oil, and all funds raised from the sale of these prints will go directly to support the material costs of our performances.
Title of work: The Oil Ship | Date: 2013|Dimensions: 59 x 84cm | Edition: 75
Conrad Atkinson has 10 works held in Tate’s collection. A well known trouble-maker and political artist, he even has two works held on display atDowning Street. His work often troubles power and makes explicit corporate and government hypocrisy. Conrad previously contributed to our publication ‘Not if but when: Culture Beyond Oil’. Check out his stunning new work The Oil Ship which presents a new twist on the Tate-BP deal.
Please support our work, and bag yourself a beauty of an artwork at the same time! And please share this page with friends and networks to get a copy of this limited edition print.
The AWEinspiring (Art, Water & Environment) Award celebrates an artwork, project or artist, recognising their contribution to The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management’s (CIWEM) vision of putting creativity into the heart of environmental policy and action.Since its formation in 2007, the primary vision of CIWEM’s Art and Environment Network has been to put creativity at the heart of environmental policy and action. The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW) has joined CIWEM in creating the AWEinspiring (Art, Water & Environment) Award, giving it to The Harrisons in recognition of their unique contribution to public understanding of climate change through the vehicle of art and creativity, linked with science.
Formed in 1983, Platform have performed across the world, from the Tate to the Camp for Climate Action, from Glastonbury to Pittsburgh, and from Bristol to Nigeria. They hold exhibitions, write books, initiate research, and develop pioneering education programmes to promote radical new ideas that inspire change. About their work, they said : ”Platform, a London-based, innovative arts collective, was selected for its long-standing commitment to using the arts to open up spaces for transformation, inspiration and change in ecological and social justice. Platform aims to achieve long-term shifts that make alternative futures possible. They engage, support, challenge, and apply their art tirelessly to the most pressing issues of the day, notably focusing on the social, economic, environmental and cultural impacts of the global oil industry. Formed in 1983, Platform have performed across the world, from the Tate to the Camp for Climate Action, from Glastonbury to Pittsburgh, and from Bristol to Nigeria. They hold exhibitions, write books, initiate research, and develop pioneering education programmes to promote radical new ideas that inspire change.”
Platform is launching a new art work ‘Two Degrees: Oil City’, a piece of site-specific immersive theatre going deep into the underbelly of London’s oil economy, on 10 – 23 June 2013.
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.
The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)
Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21
Art collective raises questions over John Browne’s conflict of interest as ex BP CEO
Tate Trustees have decided not to accept ‘The Gift’, a 16.5m wind turbine blade, as part of its permanent art collection.
‘The Gift’ was installed in Tate Turbine Hall in an unofficial performance on 7 July, involving over 100 members of Liberate Tate, the group that has made headlines for dramatic artworks relating to the relationship of public cultural institutions with oil companies.
The artists submitted official documentation (see below) for the artwork to be a gift to the nation ‘given for the benefit of the public’ under the provisions of the Museums and Galleries Act 1992, the Act from which Tate’s mission is drawn.
The refusal of the offer comes despite the fact that more than a thousand people signed a petition started by a Tate member calling on Nicholas Serota and the Tate board to accept the artwork and return the blade to the Turbine Hall for public viewing.
Informing Liberate Tate of its decision, Tate stated the reason being that: “in line with the current strategy, commitments and priorities for the Collection and the size of the object in relation to existing pressures on collection care – the offer of The Gift is declined.”
Giving Liberate Tate 7 working days’ notice, Tate also said that if the art collective did not respond by 16 October, it would “recycle” the artwork.
Today, 15 October, Liberate Tate has responded asking Nicholas Serota questions including:
(The full version of Liberate Tate’s response can be found in the Notes).The decision comes at a time when controversial art sponsors have again been in the news. Last week the National Gallery announced that its sponsorship agreement with arms dealer Finmeccanica was ending a year early following on from protests and public pressure.
Sharon Palmer from Liberate Tate said:
“We are not disappointed for us as artists – our future work will continue to be seen at Tate as long as BP is supported by Tate, although we would welcome an early end to our practice – but we are disappointed for what this decision says about the present nature of the institution that is Tate.”
“Recent studies have shown that BP sponsorship of the Olympics managed to improve the public perception of the company, despite the fact that they are continuing to devastate the climate and are pushing ahead with devastating tar sands extraction and arctic drilling. Tate’s relationship with BP is fulfilling the same function in actively helping the oil giant to avoid accountability for countless destructive activities. The Gift is an artwork that celebrates the possibility of real change – for Tate as much for everyone else facing the challenges of the climate crisis.”
The Gift is Liberate Tate’s fourth artwork in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall.
ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
Liberate Tate, Art Not Oil and Platform warmly invite you to a get together to end oil sponsorship of the arts. Featuring a performance from singer-comedian Mae Martin, contributing artist to the upcoming Tate à Tate audio tour, the evening will be the first opportunity to purchase the freshly stamped limited edition copies of Not if but when: Culture Beyond Oil.
Tuesday 29th November
Free Word Centre 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA
10.30am – 6.30pm Oil daub performance by Ruppe Koselleck
Not if but when: Culture Beyond Oil is a publication that sets out to discuss oil sponsorship of the arts. The single issue, limited edition publication features artworks in dialogue with the BP Gulf of Mexico catastrophe and articles that set out the compelling arguments for an end to BP and Shell’s murky involvement with many of the nation’s favourite cultural institutions.
This is an open event – feel free to invite your friends and colleagues.
Featured artwork: Anthony Burrill, 'Oil & Water Do Not Mix', 2010. Phot credit: Happiness Brussels
The launch event will bring together many of the growing number of artists, activists, cultural workers and gallery-goers who have built the ideas, drive and passion that are embedded in the publication itself. The launch will be an opportunity to celebrate our collective visions and strategies for ending oil sponsorship of the arts.
During the day on Monday the 28th November, each copy of this full colour 1000 limited edition will be numbered and daubed with oil from Gulf of Mexico beaches by featured artist Ruppe Koselleck, as part of his ongoing Takeover BP project, in which Koselleck sells artworks to buy shares with the aim of ultimately taking over BP.
People are warmly invited to come and witness the process during the day, have a chat with people present from Liberate Tate, Platform and Art Not Oil, or browse some of the literature relating to BP and Shell’s global activities.
The Free Word Centre is next to the Betsy Trotwood pub. The nearest tube station is Farringdon (Circle, District and Metropolitan Lines) a 5 minute walk away. Buses that stop near Free Word are 63 on Farringdon Road, 19 and 38 on Rosebery Avenue and 55 and 243 on Clerkenwell Road. See map.
Liberate Tate is an art collective exploring the role of creative intervention in social change dedicated to taking creative disobedience against Tate until it drops its oil company funding. Contact: email@example.com@LiberateTate.
Platform is an arts and research organisation bringing together environmentalists, artists, human rights campaigners, educationalists and community activists to create innovative projects driven by the need for social and environmental justice. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org@PlatformLondon.
Art Not Oil encourages artists – and would-be artists – to create work that explores the damage that companies like BP and Shell are doing to the planet, and the role art can play in counteracting that damage. Contactinfo@artnotoil.org.uk.
I got invited to a facebook event the other day. It was a protest. It instructed attendees to wear black and march up San Francisco’s Market Street in a statement against the ongoing BP oil spill. And for the first time in my adult life, I found myself wondering “Why protest?” Nothing makes a statement quite like hundreds of thousands of crude oil flooding the gulf. No amount of marching equals the dramatic impact of the loss of marine life and fisheries. The spill is not suffering from a lack of media coverage: it’s a constant point of discussion on blogs, television news broadcasts, The Daily Show. In the same way that the Exxon corporation has become synonymous with the Exxon Valdez spill, so this spill will haunt the reputation of BP, and justifiably so. Why march? Why not, say, collect natural fibers for booms and send them to the gulf, to aid in the cleanup effort?
I had a similar reaction to Rising Tide’s recent “Liberate Tate” action. The organization sent a letter to Tate Modern Museum officials, stating:
By placing the words BP and Art together, the destructive and obsolete nature of the fossil fuel industry is masked, and crimes against the future are given a slick and stainless sheen.
It goes on to threaten:
Beginning during your 10th anniversary party and continuing until you drop the sponsorship deal, we will be commissioning a series of art interventions in Tate buildings across the country. Already commissioned are Art Action collective, with a birthday surprise at this weekend’s No Soul For Sale event, and The Invisible Committee, who will infiltrate every corner of Tate across the country in the coming months.
That No Soul for Salesurprise involved hanging balloons of oil in several Tate galleries and littering them with dead birds, forcing portions of the exhibition to close. The blogs Liberal Conspiracy, Art Threat and Indymedia UK touted the action as powerful and appropriate. In the meantime, museum workers were attempting a cleanup of their own artful oil spill.
PLATFORM London argues:
A decade ago tobacco companies were seen as respectable partners for public institutions to gain support from – the current BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery was previously sponsored by British American Tobacco. Now it is socially unacceptable for tobacco to play this public role, and it is our hope that oil & gas will soon be seen in the same light.
The Liberate Tate action is the brainchild of John Jordan, a former co-director of PLATFORM and the co-founder of the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (Labofii). It’s his feeling that arts funding should come from “taxes not corporations,” despite the fact that the British government is reducing arts subsidies. While “Liberate Tate” has no alternative-funding actions planned, Jordan cites’ the Tate’s budgetary silence: “Even if we did find other funders who could take their place, we would never know how much were talking!” In the meantime, “Liberate Tate” will continue to pummel the museum with insurrectionary actions.
I live in California: my taxes don’t fund the Tate. I can similarly not regard the Tate as my neighbor. But I am an employee of a San Francisco museum, and as such I can’t help but feel a bit of sympathy for the Tate, a bit of shock. Seriously? We’re going to punish art institutions for the crimes of its funders? And simultaneously: seriously? BP is just now starting to use natural fiber booms? Why shouldn’t corporations fund initiatives that seek to reconcile their most grievous errors, like Tate’s Rising to the Climate Challenge? Or are the taxpayers to shoulder the burden of cultural advancement, as they will shoulder the burden of the oil spill’s ecological cleanup?
To be fair, Jordan took the issue up with Tate officials directly before beginning the “Liberate Tate” campaign, engaging with director Nicolas Serota via a forum led by the Guardian, and emailing director Penelope Curtis,
Does what takes place outside the citadel that is Tate not feature in the decision-making of the Ethics Committee? If not, is that Committee held back from doing what is right by legal restrictions forcing it to act only in the interests of Tate itself? If so, how can we help change that situation?
This in response to Curtis’ statement that
Without BP’s support Tate would be less able to show the collection in a changing and stimulating way.Given that the majority of Tate’ s funding is self generated, it is necessary for the gallery to work across a wide range of corporate organisations and the sponsorship policy is regularly reviewed by the Trustees. The points you raise are important ones.
Jordan is well versed in disobedience against art institutions: the Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center dropped a workshop led by the Labofii when it became clear the the resulting “tools of civil disobedience” were to be used in COP15 actions. The Art Center feared a clash with the City of Copenhagen, a funder of the museum. Similarly, participants in Labofii’s “Art and Activism” workshop at the Tate Museum learned largely about actions against Tate and its funders, specifically because the Tate stated, in workshop preparations, that it could not host any such actions. The resulting insurrection hung a large “Art Not Oil” sign under the Tate’s “Free Entry” welcome.
In an age where environmental artists are using their skills to solve problems both cultural and ecological, are protest and disobedience really the most useful tools in the box? Or are they just the most dramatic? If there are artists working in soil health, reforestation, and urban gardening, can we not also have administrative artists? Where are the massive bureaucratic art “actions”? And, finally: who would be willing to donate 10 pounds to the Tate for every 5 pounds of BP funding dropped from its budget?
Art:21 blog have been doing one of their flashpoints on art and the natural world. It includes this miniature gem of the artist Roni Horn, talking about the elusive but fundamental qualities of water, the element that much of her work revolves around. Horn, whose exhibitionRoni Horn aka Roni Horn was on at the Tate earlier this year createdVatnasafn/Library of Waterin Iceland.
To my mind, his work is best understood as a set of persistently childish acts: the outcomes of a brilliantly unadulterated being-in-the-world. The word kindergarten was coined in 1840 by the German educationalist Friedrich Froebel (1782–1852). Kindergarten, literally “a children’s garden”: a school or space for early learning. Froebel (less remembered now than Maria Montessori or Rudolf Steiner, for he didn’t lend his name to his method) wanted to create an environment in which children could be childish in the best sense of that word. Banished from his kindergartens was the Gradgrindian sense of the infant as a vessel to be filled with facts. Instead, he fostered an ideal of the child as micronaut – an explorer of the world’s textures, laws and frontiers, who should be left to make his or her own discoveries through unstructured play. Froebel wanted children to “reach out and take the world by the hand, and palpate its natural materials and laws”, as Marina Warner observes in a fine essay on play, “to discover gravity and grace, pliancy and rigidity, to sense harmonies and experience limits”.
There’s a good article by Robert MacFarlane on Richard Long on Tate Etc, the Tate’s magazine, that attempts to see beyond the usual assumptions people make about Long’s work as “romantic” :
“I feel I carry my childhood with me in lots of aspects of my work,” [Long]remarked. “Why stop skimming stones when you grow up?”
Why indeed? It’s a lovely question – innocently seen and innocently phrased. And Long has never stopped skimming stones, artistically speaking. His hundreds of circles – made around the world in stone, sand, wood, grass and footprints – can be imagined as the ripples of these skimmed stones. To my mind, his work is best understood as a set of persistently childish acts: the outcomes of a brilliantly unadulterated being-in-the-world. The word kindergarten was coined in 1840 by the German educationalist Friedrich Froebel (1782–1852). Kindergarten, literally “a children’s garden”: a school or space for early learning. Froebel (less remembered now than Maria Montessori or Rudolf Steiner, for he didn’t lend his name to his method) wanted to create an environment in which children could be childish in the best sense of that word. Banished from his kindergartens was the Gradgrindian sense of the infant as a vessel to be filled with facts. Instead, he fostered an ideal of the child as micronaut – an explorer of the world’s textures, laws and frontiers, who should be left to make his or her own discoveries through unstructured play. Froebel wanted children to “reach out and take the world by the hand, and palpate its natural materials and laws”, as Marina Warner observes in a fine essay on play, “to discover gravity and grace, pliancy and rigidity, to sense harmonies and experience limits”.
A nature-lover and walker from an early age, Froebel had a passion for the patterns of phenomena, and in particular for what he called “the deeper lying unity of natural objects”. It was for this reason that the early Froebelian kindergartens had few figurative toys. Instead of trains, dolls and knights, there were wooden cubes and spheres, coloured squares and circles, pebbles, shells and pick-up-sticks. Children spent their days singing songs and playing games, arranging the pebbles in spirals and circles, balancing blocks and picking up sticks. This open play was, as Froebel imagined it, the means by which “the child became aware of itself, and its place within the universe”.
Long is a childish artist in the Froebelian sense, and the wild world is his kindergarten. When Clarrie Wallis, curator of the new Tate exhibition, observes that his work is about his “own physical engagement, exploring the order of the universe and nature’s elemental forces… about measuring the world against ourselves”, she could be describing the Froebelian method. For more than 40 years Long has been using his moving body to explore limits, sense harmonies and apprehend balance and scale. His materials and his vocabulary have always been uncomplicated and childish. “I am content with the vocabulary of universal and common means,” he wrote quietly in 1982, “walking, placing, stones, sticks, water, circles, lines, days, nights, roads.” Again in 1985: “My pleasure is in walking, lifting, placing, carrying, throwing, marking.” In 1968 he showed a sculpture of sticks cut from trees along the Avon and laid end to end in lines on the gallery floor. Five, six, pick up sticks. Seven, eight, lay them straight.
Theorist and curator Nicolas Bourriaud wrote his Altermodern Manifesto as part of Altermodern, the fourth Tate Triennial It proposes that the era of globalisation and creolisation compel us to new types of representation exist beyond the relativist scope of post-modermism. Go to RSA Arts & Ecology