When Art Meets Activism

Is there a line between art and ethics?

Scrutiny of arts funding is in the spotlight once more. Tate have recently appeared before the Information Tribunal following their refusal to declare the exact amount they receive in sponsorship from oil giants BP. The hearing is the result of the gallery's heavily redacted response to a Freedom of Information request made by Request Initiative, working with the art-activist campaign group Platform. It comes just days after a major interactive intervention organised by art activists took place at Tate Modern. In the tribunal itself, Tate admitted to fears that such protests “might intensify” if the actual sponsorship figures were made public.

We spoke to Hannah Davey of art-activist collective Liberate Tate and Kevin Smith of Platform about the ethics of corporate sponsorship and whether art and politics can ever really be separated.


How and why does it matter that the Tate receives funding from BP?

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