Great piece by Tom Jeffreys with several quotes from Kevin Smith of Platform exploring the various facets and complexities of corporate sponsorship of the arts, looking at ethics and censorship issues.
A useful reference is made to the dropping of Trafigura from the Young Masters art prize –
“Sponsorship relationships with brands of this sort have various consequences. The first and most obvious is the damage it can do to the reputation of a hitherto respected institution. One need only recall what happened in 2009 when oil trader Trafigura was dropped as the sponsor of Cynthia Corbett’s art prize (now called Young Masters) following numerous scandals (and subsequent Carter-Ruck injunctions) to see the danger of being associated with such a ‘toxic’ brand.”
Jeffreys goes on to ask whether Tate will recognise the same danger –
“By taking money from BP, these institutions have put themselves in the position where they are compelled to support (or at least be seen to support) their sponsors… [quoting Tate policy] ‘Tate will not accept funds in circumstances when…acceptance of the funds would… significantly damage the effective operation of Tate in delivering its mission’. If this mission includes, as above, ‘demonstrating leadership in response to climate change’ then surely there is a contradiction here?”
Read the full article here.