Opening Spaces of Resistance in the Corporatized Cultural Institution: Liberate Tate and the Art Not Oil Coalition

Emma Mahony


In the current economic climate where state subsidies for the arts have been steadily eroded, there is a consensus in support of the good of corporate sponsorship for cultural institutions. This article seeks to problematize this consensus by critiquing the strategies that corporations employ in their sponsorship agreements with public cultural institutions and opening up a discussion around the ethical issues this poses for their recipients. It then examines how a coalition of subversive arts collectives, that come together under the banner ‘Art Not Oil’, have begun to successfully shatter this consensus through a sustained campaign of unauthorized live art interventions enacted inside cultural institutions. It argues that the unique strategy of resistance they employ operates at an interstitial distance to the public cultural institutions they target, from where they open up spaces of resistance ultimately capable of rewriting the cultural sectors’ corporatized value system.

Key Words: Corporate sponsorship, Public cultural sector, Liberate Tate, Simon Critchley, Interstitial distance

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Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Mahony

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