Art Gallery: Oil Painting Yes, Oil Extraction No – Grist


It’s Thursday February 24th and a prestigious art gallery is parting ways with BP.

This was announced by London’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG) on Tuesday end a longstanding and controversial partnership with an oil giant.

NPG’s sponsorship deal with BP ends in December, the museum said in a press release, drawing the curtain on more than 30 years of partnership with the fossil fuel company. “The gallery is very grateful to BP for their long-term support of the BP Portrait Award,” NPG said in a press release It is noted that it will not renew its contract at the end of the year.

The annual Portrait Award has long been the target of criticism from artists and advocacy groups, who argue that BP’s sponsorship is helping to bolster the oil company’s fading reputation. In 2019, nearly 80 leading artists and award winners challenged the director of the NPG No more BP and put the museum on “the right side of history.” That same year, Extinction Rebellion protesters attracted international attention by launching a fake oil spill in one of the main halls of the museum. “NPG, lower blood pressure,” the group demanded.

Now the stakeholders’ efforts seem to be paying off. The NPG joins a number of UK museums and cultural institutions that have severed their ties with oil and gas companies in recent years, including the national theatrethe Royal Shakespeare Societyand National Galleries Scotland. This was also announced by the Scottish National Ballet on Tuesday ended a sponsorship deal with BP.

Jess Worth, co-director of advocacy group Culture Unstained, said the series of announcements was a “unstoppable rejection” of fossil fuel funding by leading cultural institutions.

Culture Unstained says it will now focus on the British Museum, one of the world’s most visited museums, whose Partnership with BP is in progress. Just as BP announces “obscene profits,” Culture is unstained tweetedthe British Museum “helps him rehabilitate his public image by selling his legitimacy!”

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