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Sir John Everett Millais, Ophelia, I851-1852. Tate Britain.

LONDON – After the Tate Britain waged an unsuccessful three-year legal battle to keep the numbers hidden, reports revealed Monday show just how much money the oil company BP has given the museum. Over a 17-year period the total was £3.8m, given in annual amounts varying between £150,000 and £330,000. The Tate calls it a “considerable sum” while protestors of the oil giant say it is an “embarrassingly small” figure.

On one side of the argument, writer and cultural sociologist Tiffany Jenkins noted: “The figures are smaller than they should be. BP has a lot of money and Tate is an important gallery and it would be nice if BP gave more. Tate should be asking for more.

I have no problem with oil companies, we need them. I’m suspicious of this notion that the arts needs to be ethically funded. These are difficult times for the arts and they need the money.”

Among the protestors is Raoul Martinez, an artist, who said the sponsorship should end because of “BP’s horrendous environmental record, and their role in obfuscating climate science and slowing down a meaningful response to climate change – the greatest threat to humanity’s continued survival.

Tate’s reaction to this criticism has been stubborn foot-dragging. And for what? A tiny percentage of their annual budget? It’s highly embarrassing for Tate, and should result in a decisive change of course.” (source: ARTFIX Daily)