In London, youth activists threw soup at Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” asking, “Is art worth more than life? More than food? More than justice?” In Melbourne, Australia, two protesters superglued themselves to Picasso’s “Massacre in Korea” to highlight the connections between climate change and future conflict and suffering.
Others have engaged in similar protests, targeting a Boticelli at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy; an ancient Roman statue at the Vatican; a Klimt in Vienna; and a mummy exhibit at Barcelona’s Egyptian Museum.
Their actions have incited mixed responses around the world. Some people praised the activists’ daring and ingenuity; others lambasted the groups for polarizing the fight for climate justice, sending mixed messages and using plain poor logic.
But tactics like these draw media attention and make a lasting impression, and that’s the point – especially right now.