Tate has today revealed details of its sponsorship deal with BP following a protracted legal dispute that began in 2012 with a Freedom of Information request.
The figures cover the period 1990 to 2006 inclusive and show that BP sponsorship has ranged from £150,000 a year between 1991-2000 to £330,000 a year in 2002-2007.
Anna Galkina, a spokesperson for Platform, described the sponsorship figures as representing around 0.5% of Tate’s budget.
She said: “For nearly a decade, Tate provided a veneer of respectability to one of the world’s most controversial companies for just £150,000 a year. The figures are embarrassingly small for Tate to go on justifying its BP relationship.
“Tate can clearly do without BP. A growing wave of universities, faith and government institutions are choosing to divest and break ties with the fossil fuel industry – it’s time for Tate to join them.”
Important sponsor of the arts
Commenting on the decision to disclose the figures and other documents, which retain a number of Tate’s redactions, a spokesperson for Tate said: “The Tribunal’s view was that, in this case, the pre-2007 figures were sufficiently historic not to be harmful to Tate.
“Tate has therefore released pre-2007 historic figures for BP funding to the requester. The cumulative commitment of these funds totals almost £4m for the period 1990-2006. This is considerable funding.”
The spokesperson added: “BP is one of the most important sponsors of the arts in the UK supporting Tate as well as several other leading cultural institutions.
“Its support has been instrumental in helping Tate develop access to the Tate Collection and to present changing displays of work by a wide range of artists in the national collection of British Art.”
Rosa Curling, a solicitor at Leigh Day, said: “If public bodies are accepting sponsorship money from corporations such as BP, they must be open about how much they are receiving.
“Tate’s actions have prevented proper public debate over the acceptability of the sponsorship, based on actual figures, for over three years. We hope that Tate will now change its approach and act in a more open and transparent manner about corporate sponsorship.”
On Thursday 29 January, the Take The Money And Run? conference – organised by Artsadmin, Home Live Art and Live Art Development Agency in collaboration with Platform – will be discussing the ethics of arts funding and sponsorship. The day-long event takes place at Toynbee Studios, London, from 10am.