A pair of climate activists cling to a Vincent van Gogh painting in a London museum today, a day after other members of the group did the same to a work by Horatio McCulloch in Glasgow.
The idea, according to the protesters, was to urge “arts institutions to join them in civil resistance”.
This afternoon, Louis McKechnie, 21, from Dorset, and Emily Brocklebank, 24, from Leeds, took a bottle of glue to an upper floor of the Courtauld Gallery in the UK capital and glued their palms to the frame of vincent. van Gogh‘s landscape of 1889, Peach trees in bloom. Both protesters belong to Just Stop Oil, a UK-based environmental protest group.
“It is immoral for cultural institutions to sit idly by and watch as our society crumbles,” McKechnie said in a statement. statement shared by the group. “The galleries must close. Directors of arts institutions should call on the government to immediately halt all new oil and gas projects.
“Either we are in resistance or we are complicit,” he added.
According to Just Stop Oil, van Gogh’s bucolic landscape has been targeted because the region he depicts in Provence could soon experience a severe drought.
Representatives for the Courtauld Gallery did not immediately respond to Artnet News’ email requesting more information about the incident, including whether the painting had been damaged.
Images shared by the protest group on social media showed London police ascending the Courtauld stairs, presumably to apprehend protesters.
“A work of art enjoys this protection and concern of the state,” read a caption accompanying the video. “While the people of Ethiopia, Somalia, India, Pakistan, USA, Australia (to name a few) who are suffering from climate change NOW are ignored and abandoned.”
“What is most important? This painting? Or a future?!”
A similar scene took place yesterday afternoon at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow as two Just Stop Oil protesters clung to the frame of McCulloch’s 19th century landscape, My heart is in the Highlands. Three other members spray-painted the band’s name in bright orange on the institution’s walls.
The five protesters, all under the age of 31, were arrested by Scottish police. Just Stop Oil shared a video of one being driven out of the museum and into a police van by uniformed officers as she pleads with onlookers.
“I shouldn’t be doing this,” the protester shouted. “I shouldn’t be here being put in a police van while I’m just begging the government to give my generation a future.”
“The art world is complicit. The art world is responsible,” she continued while being ushered into the vehicle. “Every sector of our culture is responsible. We cannot carry on as if nothing had happened. »
On the recommendation of the police, the museum quickly closed after the protesters left.
The museum did not respond to Artnet News’ email, but a spokesperson for Glasgow Life, the organization that runs the museum in Kelvingrove, told the evening standard that “security and conservation teams are currently working with police to determine the extent of the damage. We will update on the reopening as soon as possible. »
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