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Artists attack Tate Britain's BP sponsorship

28th June 2010

A group of more than 170 artists have slammed Tate Britain for taking sponsorship from oil giant BP.

In an open letter to the Guardian, 171 signatories attacked the gallery for celebrating 20 years of BP sponsorship at its summer party, which is held tonight.

'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,' the dispatch reads.

The letter also alleges that the Tate's association with the company represents a 'stain' on its international reputation, as such deals allow oil firms to hide their 'environmentally-destructive' activities behind the respectability of sponsoring high-profile cultural organisations.

In addition, the group broadened its criticism to encompass any cultural institution that accepts sponsorship from oil companies, comparing the practice to public institutions partnering with tobacco companies in the last decade.

Signatories to the letter include playwrights Caryl Churchill and Davey Anderson, artists John Keane and Hans Haacke, and curators Michaela Crimmin and Gareth Evans.

According to BP, the cost of cleaning up the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has now reached USD 2.65 billion (GBP 1.76 billion), including claims paid to those affected by the incident.

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