Dozens of activists have deposited a huge wind turbine blade in the Tate Modern in protest at BP‘s sponsorship of the gallery.
Members of the Liberate Tate pressure group carried sections of the 16.5-metre blade across the Thames’s Millennium bridge on Saturday morning before assembling it in the gallery’s Turbine Hall.
The one and a half tonne blade, taken from a decommissioned wind turbine in Wales, was presented to Tate staff along with an official request for it to be made part of the gallery’s permanent collection.
Liberate Tate spokeswoman Sharon Palmer said that “in a time of climate crisis” visitors to the gallery “should not be made to feel that they’re legitimising” oil firms such as BP.
Last December, Tate’s director, Sir Nicholas Serota, was presented with a petition from 8,000 Tate members and visitors, organised by Liberate Tate and two other campaign groups, Platform and Art Not Oil.
BP’s sponsorship of British arts institutions, including the National Gallery and the Royal Opera House, is worth more than £1m a year. It first attracted protests after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
Two months later, five gallons of molasses were poured down Tate Britain’s stairs at its summer party. Demonstrators also released helium balloons with dead fish attached in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Gallery staff shot the balloons down with air rifles.
Sponsorship is increasingly contentious as arts organisations make up the shortfall in government funding.
A spokeswoman for the Tate said: “Tate can confirm at 11.40am today there was an incident in which a wind turbine blade was left in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. The blade has now been removed by Tate’s security staff.”
BP could not be reached for comment.
Protesters take 16-metre wind turbine blade to Tate Modern | Art and design | guardian.co.uk.