BP protesters at the Tate

The whole “sponsorship is evil” line is easy to trot out when you’re a penniless student with nothing to lose. Corporate sponsorship of the arts is vital. The counter-argument is, does it really “greenwash” them? I think a lot of the time the main motivation is to give their executives and clients a nice jolly and some privileged access. I don’t think that when people come out of an exhibition, they think: “Oh, wow, I’m going to buy BP petrol now.”

I haven’t really had sponsorship before, but for the show I’m working on now I’ve said right from the start that if we need a sponsor I’m going to play with it. I’m going to incorporate the sponsor into one of the pieces. I’m interested in medieval northern European altarpieces, where quite often the patron would be painted meeting the Virgin, or carved standing at the side of St Peter or whoever; that was part of the deal.

Part of my shtick is that I rebel against the rebels. I find that kneejerk, internet-paranoid-conspiracy thing a bit annoying, so I suppose my devil’s advocate side wants to poke them in the eye a bit. I’m understanding of the need for corporate sponsorship.

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Grayson Perry