A new trend for climate activism is on the rise. Activists are destroying extremely famous pieces of art, although they are in protective barriers, and then screaming about climate change propaganda. They are a part of a climate activist group called "Last Generation." A recent example of this occurred in Vienna, Austria, at the Leopold Museum. Two activists threw a black oily substance on Gustav Klimt’s painting, "Death of Life." After throwing the substance, they began screaming about ending the use of fossil fuels. When security intervened and started attempting to remove the activists from the premises, one of them tried gluing himself to the glass covering the painting. This way he could keep reciting his speech stating why new oil and gas wells are a death sentence for humanity. This also happened in England, where climate activists threw a can of tomato soup on a Van Gogh masterpiece.
The Public’s Response
A lot of the public has been taking their opinions to Twitter, and they do not seem to be positive. People are stating that the activists taking these actions are terrorists and should receive a large jail sentence. Ian Miles Cheong tweeted, "Jail isn’t enough," and Harry Khachatarian tweeted, "They should enforce mandatory minimum prison sentences of 25 years without parole for vandalism and see how often this happens again." They claim that they should not be considered activists but rather vandals. They are also upset with the disrespect towards the artistic masterpieces. Although they have protective barriers, they are still harming the frame and walls of the museum. People also think these pieces of art are so valuable that no one should ever attempt anything that could even potentially ruin the painting. Michael Malice tweeted, "One of the ways I differ from some conservatives (not you, Ian) is that I sincerely think many modernist paintings are more valuable than people like this."
How Does Destroying Art Relate Back to Climate Change?
Many people ask how climate activists came up with the idea to destroy famous works of art. The first reason is the shock factor. Their hope is to wake people up and make them feel uncomfortable. People who live comfortably in the global north can’t ignore these huge environmental problems that are taking a toll on societies all around the world. The second reason is the metaphor. The destruction of art acts as a microcosm of the horror that awaits us. By throwing oil on Gustav Klimt’s painting, it shows us what our world will become if we continue down this path, disregarding the impacts on new oil and gas wells. Our world is compared to the painting, and it is being destroyed due to us not acting against climate issues, such as the use of fossil fuels. Although the media and activists continue to spread the false narrative of the oil and gas industry, Global Warning visits and shares the truth about Canada’s oil sands throughout the documentary.
Written By: Talia Phillips, Social Media Coordinator, The GCMG Agency