Polluting Public Culture

by Alice Proctor

'The National Portrait Gallery has announced that it won’t renew its partnership with BP when its current agreement expires in December, ending thirty years of sponsorship. Though the official statements vaguely suggest that the decision comes from BP looking for ‘new ways to best use [their] talent, experience, and resources’—strange phrasing for a partnership that was supposedly purely financial—the NPG’s relationship with BP has been heavily criticised and protested by artists and organisers associated with the Art Not Oil collective for years now, part of the wider movement against oil sponsorship in arts and cultural institutions. It’s the third major organisation supported by BP to end the relationship in the wake of protest, the first being Tate in 2017, followed by the RSC in 2019.'

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