Tate Modern removes oil from its new galleries

Press Release 15 May 2012 admin

What were “The Oil Tanks” at Tate Modern have now been rebranded as “The Tanks” within recent Tate press communications it has been noted by campaign group Platform [1].

It appears that the forthcoming launch of its new space has prompted Tate to remove the word ‘oil’ from the name of its new galleries that are now referred to as merely ‘The Tanks’ [2] when only last Autumn they were called ‘the Oil Tanks’ [3].

Platform believes that this is due to the concerted pressure and criticism that has been aimed at Tate for its decision to continue to take money from BP despite the oil giant’s dodgy environmental record. On 2nd December 2011 eight thousand signatories made up of Tate visitors and members [4] petitioned Director Nicholas Serota to drop the shadowy deal, calling on Tate to “Take the necessary steps to disengage from BP as a sponsor, and stop allowing Tate to be used to deflect attention away from the devastating impacts that BP has around the world.” [5]

Mel Evans, spokesperson for Platform says “It’s quite ironic that Tate Modern have dropped the word ‘oil’ from the branding of their new galleries, due to open this summer, when they are continuing to receive funding from oil giant BP. It seems that the Tate want to free themselves from any association with oil whilst at the same time are quite happily taking money from this known oil polluter with a terrible human rights and environmental track record. [6]”

Amidst public debate that has seen hundreds of artists speak out on the issue, and a series of striking, unsanctioned and highly publicized performance protests inside the galleries themselves, Tate is now preparing to launch a new space that was once filled with the very thing they don’t want to talk about namely . . . oil.


Mel Evans

Platform Press Office

Tel: 0207 403 3738

Email: [email protected]


Notes to Editors:


[2] “Tate Modern’s transformation continues with the opening of the Tanks on 18 July 2012″, Tate Press Release, 23.4.12, <>

[3] “Phase 1 of the development includes the opening of the former power station’s spectacular Oil Tanks”, Tate Press Release, 9.11.11, <>

[4] “an open letter delivered to Nicholas Serota at the Members AGM signed by over 8,000 Tate Members and visitors” Platform Press Release, 5.12.11,

[5] Open Letter to Nicholas Serota,

[6] BP human rights and environmental track record, pp.38-41, ‘Not If But When: Culture Beyond Oil’ publication,

High-res images available

Photo credit: Amy Scaife
Human Cost, Liberate Tate, unsanctioned performance in Tate Britain on anniversary of BP Gulf of Mexico disaster.










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