The disgraced family’s name will remain on the museum’s benefactors’ board and its Great Court donor list.
But the discovery was drowned out by the drumbeat of protest against the British Museum following new revelations about its ties to a fossil fuel company.
“By allowing Shell to sponsor this exhibition, the Science Museum is helping to boost the company’s cynical greenwash,” said Jess Worth, co-director of Culture Unstained.
The fossil fuel giant, which has sponsored the BP Portrait Award for 30 years, will no longer have a say in the judging process.
“We are all together in this crisis and we all must change,” Rylance said in an opinion article published in the Guardian. “I am resigning to lend strength to the voices within the RSC who want to be progressive, and to encourage my fellow associates to express themselves, too.”
“There should be no role for an oil company in the artistic decisions of any cultural organization,” wrote the competition judge, artist Gary Hume, “and especially not in determining the winner of the world’s leading portrait award.”
The Shell energy corporation has ended its years-long partnership agreements with the Van Gogh Art Museum and the Mauritshuis, but it’s already started to invest in UK-based institutions.
Newly public emails show correspondence between the museum, Russia’s London embassy, British officials, and BP.
Culture Unstained is calling on the museum to cut ties with BP because of its connections to foreign regimes that violate human rights.