Artwash: Big Oil and the Arts

30 Jan 2015 admin

If you missed Take the Money and Run? – a discussion-packed day on ethics and arts funding – you also missed our sneak preview of Artwash the new book written by Mel Evans.

Fear not! Mel recorded this short intro so you don’t have to miss out…

20 April 2015 is the fifth anniversary of the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster.

What do we know now that we didn’t know then, while the spill was still happening?

We know that the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster was the biggest accidental oil spill in history. We know that the chemical Corexit that was used as dispersant was toxic and harmed the health of people living along the Gulf Coast States. We know that people’s lives and livelihoods and the ecologies along the coast changed forever.


We also know BP was fine. It paid out in compensation but it was fine. It faced the largest criminal charges in US history but it was fine. And people thought the company might collapse because the share value suffered so much – but no, profits started going up and BP was fine.

So how did BP get away with it? How is there a gap between the harmful impacts that oil companies like BP have through their daily activities around the world and our continued acceptance of them as a necessary, normal part of our lives?

A big part of what happens in that gap is Artwash. The way in which oil companies project a better image of themselves to the public through their associations with cultural institutions, sports etc. The different ways they find to maintain a social license to operate. This is Artwash.

Artwash is published by Pluto Press on 20 April 2015 – the fifth anniversary of the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster.

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