Climate activists doodle on Andy Warhol prints at the National Gallery of Australia – ARTnews.com
Two climate activists scribbled in blue ink a series of Andy Warhol serigraphs National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, Australia this week to raise awareness about the country’s fossil fuel subsidies.
Images and video of the protest posted on social media show the two activists also trying to stick their hands on the famous print series called Campbell’s Soup I, which is framed and under glass.
A press release from Stop Fossil Fuels Subsidies, part of the A22 network, a coalition of civil resistance organizations, said the protest was aimed at ending Australian government financial support for industries like natural gas and coal. Australia is the world’s leading exporter of coal and 71% of its electricity in 2021 came from fossil fuels.
One of the Canberra protest activists was identified in a press release as a mother of three named Bonnie Cassen. She said Andy Warhol depicts consumerism gone mad in his series of iconic prints.
“Families must choose between medicine and food for their children while fossil fuel companies make record profits. And yet our government gives $22,000 a minute in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry,” she said, applying glue to her palm.
The protest follows similar actions by climate change activists in the main galleries and museums of European cities. Activists threw liquids or stuck their hands on the glass or frames of iconic works like Johannes Vermeer’s A girl with an earringby Van Gogh SunflowersClaude Monet grinding wheelsand Francisco Goyathe paintings of The Clothed Maja and The Naked Maja. Videos and statements about these protests explained that the intention is not to damage the paintings and sculptures, but only to highlight the lack of action by governments against the causes of worsening climate disasters. The climate events began in late June, with most of the action taken by UK climate activism group Just Stop Oil.
Earlier this month, the Association of Art Museum Directorsa leading museum group that includes several of the most prominent arts institutions in the United States and Canada, released a statement denouncing the protests by climate activists in Europe.
“This association has always been clear that attacks on works of art cannot be justified, whether the motivations are political, religious or cultural,” the AAMD said in its statement. “The art crosses the boundaries of time and place to highlight the creativity that people have expressed everywhere, and they represent our common humanity.”
The statement continued: “Attacking art for any purpose undermines these common bonds. Such protests are misdirected and the end does not justify the means.