Climate activists from Last Generation Austria attacked a painting by Gustav Klimt at the Leopold Museum in Vienna, Austria, with one of the activists throwing a black oily liquid onto the painting and the other glueing himself to the painting’s glass covering.
This comes at a time when climate activists have destroyed several paintings in what they believe is a move to ensure the world pays attention to ecological and climate change issues.
In Germany, a Claude Monet artwork was attacked with mashed potatoes, and the British group Just Stop Oil attacked Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh at the National Gallery of London last month with tomato soup.
Members belonging to the activist group said they attacked the 1915 piece of art to draw attention to their government’s usage of fossil fuels. They defended the act by saying they were against oil and gas drilling, which is ‘a death sentence to the community.’
In a video shared on social media, one of the activists shouts,
“We have known about the problem for 50 years, we must finally act; otherwise, the planet will be broken.”
According to the Austria Press Agency, when police arrived at the museum following the assault, the black liquid, which the activists had carried in a hot water container under their clothes, was washed off the protective glass. However, the museum reports that the damage caused to the glass, security frame, and the wall and floor is severe.
The director of the Leopold Museum, Hans-Peter Wipplinger, admitted that climate activists’ worries were genuine, but damaging pieces of art is clearly the wrong approach to achieve the desired aim of averting the expected climatic catastrophe.
He appealed to them to find better ways of raising their concerns to the world rather than destroying artistic works.
Many climate experts have also condemned this rising behaviour, noting that climate issues cannot be solved through violence but through other means that do not cause harm to things that have nothing to do with climate.
The Klimt piece is an oil on canvas painting in the Art Nouveau style that features a group of hugging, partially naked individuals on the right and depicts death on the left.
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