Greenwash detected at British Museum

The Greenwish Guerrillas struck again yesterday at the opening of the BP-sponsored ‘Michelangelo Drawings – Closer to the Master’ exhibition.As the doors of the British Museum opened on the first day of the record-ticket-selling Michelangelo exhibition, the Greenwash Guerrillas outfoxed security guards at the outer gates and unfurled a banner reading ‘BP sponsors climate chaos’ across the front steps of the building’s entrance. After a quick game of chase-the-Guerrillas, they set up camp outside the main gates, informing the public of the greenwash threat posed by BP’s hyper-slick sponsorship machine.

‘Enjoy your visit!’ said a security guard to everyone entering the museum.
‘Enjoy your visit and ask critical questions!’ said a Greenwash Guerilla.
One woman was heard to say, as she entered the museum refusing to accept a leaflet, ‘You can’t get us – we’re from the USA!’

This is what the poster for the exhibition became after it had spent a few hurried moments in the hands of the Greenwash Guerillas’ (very) ad hoc design department:

The police duly arrived, and proceeded to reassure us that they had just been bemoaning the perils of globalisation when they got the call to investigate our intervention.

The campaign against oil sponsorship of arts and culture continues. Look out for Art Not Oil 2006, opening in London on June 10th, location to be revealed…

The other side of the leaflet given out on the opening morning of the exhibition went like this:

BP is the sponsor of The British Museum’s ‘Michelangelo Drawings’ Exhibition, but what lies beneath the logo?

* 15 workers were killed and over 170 injured in an explosion at BP’s texas city refinery on march 23rd 2005. (Please remember the 15 today on the 1st anniversary of their deaths)

* ‘Oil gushes into Arctic ocean from BP pipeline’, IND 21.3.06

* ‘BP and Shell have discussed with the government the prospect of claiming a stake in Iraq’s oil reserves in the aftermath of war.’ Financial Times, 11.3.03

* BP has bankrolled Colombian paramilitary death squads in exchange for the ‘protection’ of its oilfields

* fossil fuel-induced climate chaos (or ‘global warming’) hit Europe in August 2003, killing tens of thousands of mostly older people in record-breaking temperatures

* ‘Exposed: BP, its pipeline, and an environmental timebomb’ Independent on BP’s Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil & gas pipelines, 26.6.04, which will be a human rights disaster & produce over 150M tonnes of CO2 each year for 40 years, causing untold damage to the world’s climate. (

* BP invests less than 3% of its annual budget on solar & other renewable energy sources, much less than it ploughs into advertising and public relations BP’s oil & gas operations throughout the world, eg. in Colombia (, West Papua (, Russia, Angola, Alaska (,9171,1174706,00.html), and even here in the UK, continue to cause destitution and ecological devastation, as do all> oil companies.

But don’t be depressed – it’s still not too late to DO SOMETHING about all this injustice and climatic meltdown. How about…don’t fly/challenge corporations and those that let them peddle the illusion of their greenness/get a bike/send art to Art Not Oil/grow your own food/cut your emissions/ spread hope/start building a fossil fuel-free future NOW!

And on the issue of sponsorship, how about telling BM boss Neil MacGregor what you think:

Info: &
c/o 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES

You can find some more images attached, and here:


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