Climate activists keep gluing themselves to artworks, and they’re not doing it out of any disrespect, but to force open a dialogue. Many of the original artists would probably have approved.
In recent weeks, climate activists for Just Stop Oil and the Italian group L’Ultima Generazione have glued their hands to the housings for two Italian masterworks.
“Is it possible to see a spring as beautiful as this today?” asked L’Ultima Generazione in a statement, released right as two protesters glued their hands to La Primavera in the Uffizi art gallery in Florence. With the help of a third person, the two protestors unfurled a banner which read “Ultima Generazione No Gas No Carbone (Last Generation, No Gas, No Coal).”
The works La Primavera by Botticelli and La Tempesta by Ditto Giorgione (The Spring and The Storm, respectively) are both landscapes that indulge in their environment. Botticelli was known to hate painting landscapes, but the lush scene of La Primavera still shows over 500 recognizable plant species. Giorgione painted a ripe rural world under the threat of storm. Both painters, it’s easy to assume, would have stood with those who want scenes like this to remain reality, and not only paint.
While one group of these glue-protesters did damage the frame of a Rubens painting in Munich, Germany and another spray painted “No New Oil” on a wall in Manchester, there has been very little other damage in these protests. They are set up simply to demand attention, to get their message spoken about and argued over.
Just Stop Oil, the British group, has seen a fresh surge of life with the appointment of the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, who has committed to increasing the number of oil and gas licenses issued by the United Kingdom, a direct opposite to every climate goal the country has set.
“We are on the road to three degrees of warming,” said a Just Stop Oil spokesperson in an interview with Good Morning Britain. “The United Nations are telling us that if we get to 1.7 degrees of warming, half the population will be exposed to climate conditions that are unlivable.”
Photo: Takashi Images / Shutterstock