A Tempest in a Coke Bottle and the School Of Disobedience

Over two hundred people, including prominent cultural figures, have signed an online petition demanding that the Sinebrychoff Art Museum end its “Coca-Cola Bottle 100 years” exhibition. They accuse the museum, part of the Finnish National Gallery network, of advertising for a global brand and forgetting its original role as an art gallery.

The man behind the petition is the Finnish art critic Otso Kantokorpi.

In his blog for the Finnish art audience, “Alaston kriitikko”, Kantokorpi argues, that if museums, instead of accepting exhibition proposals from the sponsors, watching support from the state run dry, merely revealed the truth — and left their walls bare — then policy makers would better understand the urgency of cultural funding.

“Corporate museum sponsorship is nothing new, and as state funding declines, especially in Europe, institutions are being forced to look for support in less traditional avenues”, writes art journalist Sarah Cascone in turn.

This is not the first time issues like this have caused controversy.

For example, this year, Tate was forced to reveal the amount of charitable sponsor donations by the oil company BP.

Tate’s sponsorship deal with the BP reportedly has a 25-year span.

“At a time when Tate was adopting a ‘vision’ to ‘become a leader in museum sustainability practice and to influence the entire sector towards more sustainable environmental practice,’ there was clearly the potential for tension and controversy about seeking a renewed sponsorship deal with a company primarily engaged in oil and gas extraction”, writes independent consultant David Carrington in an article online.

Meanwhile, the Finnish artist Jani Leinonen’s exhibition “School Of Disobedience”, heavily critizising global capitalism, is now open in the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, which is also a part of the Finnish National Gallery.

When asked what disobedience is needed for, Leinonen quotes the American historian and social activist Howard Zinn: “– The most terrible things in history, genocide, slavery and war, have happened because of obedience. The problem of humanity is that people obey their leaders because of hunger, fear or poverty, and that leads to greater evil. Passivity is obedience, disobedience requires us to be active.”

Leinonen’s work is also featured in the British artist Banksy’s massive “Dismaland” exhibition, open until 27 September in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset.

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