On Sunday, two activists from the German environmental group Letzte Generation (“Last Generation”) smeared a painting by Monet with mashed potatoes in the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, Germany. The work was one of several versions of Monet’s “Sheaves”: a museum spokesperson said it did not appear to have been damaged, as the paintings on display are all protected by glass. After throwing the mashed potatoes on the painting, the activists each glued one hand to the wall and explained that it was a gesture to draw attention to the climate crisis. The soiling of Monet’s painting is the latest of several climate protests related to art and food: a few days earlier, on October 14, two activists from another environmental group had entered a room in the National Gallery of London and smeared one of the versions of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” with tomato sauce.
There is no art on a dead planet.pic.twitter.com/2B7izCD0bT
– Peter Kalmus (@ClimateHuman) October 23, 2022
In the video of the soiling of Monet’s painting published by Letzte Generation, one of the two activists is seen loudly explaining the reason for the protest: «People are hungry, they are cold, they are dying. And all you are worried about is a tomato sauce or a puree on a painting. Do you know what I’m worried about? I am worried because science tells us that we will not be able to feed our families in 2050 ».
Lately some works of art have been targeted by activists who want to attract attention for various causes, and there has been much talk of the possible usefulness of actions of this kind to the environmental cause. Last July 22nd, also in Italy, a group of activists glued themselves to the glass that protects Sandro Botticelli’s “La Primavera” at the Uffizi in Florence, then showing a banner with the words “No gas, no coal”.
– Read also: Does smearing the “Sunflowers” help the environmental cause?