photo by secretagentarthur (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

In a bold statement against arts institutions co-operating with unethical companies, a group of activists poured molasses and threw feathers onto the steps to the entrance of the Tate Britain art gallery in London on Monday.

The activist-artists, calling themselves ‘The Good Crude Britannia’ appeared during a protest outside the BP-sponsored Tate Britain summer party, which commemorated 20 years of BP’s support for the Tate. They were clad in black and carrying buckets of molasses emblazoned with the BP logo, which they emptied over the stone entrance to the Tate, stunning partygoers and causing cameras to flash. The act was an obvious reference to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

An environmental arts campaigner was quoted in a UK Press Association report on the incident:

BP is trying to repair its tarnished reputation and buy our approval by associating itself with culturally important institutions like Tate. We hope that, as happened with the tobacco industry, it will soon come to be seen as socially unacceptable for cultural institutions to accept funding from Big Oil.

–Jane Trowell, Platform

For more on the story, read this humorous account in the Guardian and check out the video of the activists doing the deed, edited with dramatic music and slow-motion to maximize effect, below:

Licence to Spill