Why do climate activists throw food on multimillion-dollar plates? | smart news

Last-generation protesters throw mashed potatoes at a Monet painting in Germany.
Jill Letzte

Wearing neon orange jackets, two climate activists sprinkled mashed potatoes on the protective glass covering Monet. Piles of grain At the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, Germany. Then they stuck their hands on the wall under the painting and started talking.

People are starving. People freeze. people die. We are in a climate disaster and all you fear is tomato soup or mashed potatoes on a plate,” protester Miriam Hermann said. “When will you finally start listening and stop doing business as usual?”

This is the latest stunt in a long line of art-related climate protests across Europe. Earlier this month, activists at Just Stop Oil Group, a UK-based coalition, said, Throw tomato soup at Vincent Van Gogh sunflower in London. In June, group members pasted on their own Under Van Gogh Peach trees in Blossom. And a man disguised as an old woman cake stained on Mona LisaProtective glass may. Climate protesters also hit museums in GlasgowAnd the Florence and the Vaticanas well as multiple London galleries.

In all cases, the art was unharmed, although some frames sustained minor damage.

This week’s mashed potato protest is led by Last Generation, the German sister organization of Just Stop Oil. Group members previously set up roadblocks across Germany and Paste them on art frames Hanging in Dresden, Berlin and Frankfurt.

The stunts are dramatic, even “ridiculous,” as 21-year-old Phoebe Plummer, a Just Stop Oil activist, was arrested after throwing soup on sunflower Last week, he admits in an interview with Atmosphere. But Plummer says it’s meant to spark debate about climate action.

“We’re not asking the question: Should everyone throw soup at the plates?” Plummer says. Atmosphere. “What we do is start the conversation so we can ask the important questions. Questions like… ‘Is it okay for fossil fuels to be so?’ Powered by thirty times more renewable energy sources [in the U.K.]when the offshore wind is currently Nine times cheaper? “

Stephen DuncombeCo-founder of the Nonprofit Center for Art Activism that trains people to campaign for change The New York TimesKara Buckley says he wonders if this strategy is effective.

“Are they talking about food being dumped on art, or are they talking about how carbon fuels will extinguish life on this planet?” Duncombe tells the post. “If the message that got through is that activists are doing crazy things, does it help the cause or not?”

The last generation has two Orders listed on its website. The first is the 62 mph speed limit on German motorways, which the German Environment Agency has calculated will provide 5.4 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Their second demand is a flat-fee train ticket, which he thinks is so Reduce emissions further By encouraging the use of public transportation. In June, July and August this year, the country experimented with charging Fixed monthly rate €9 ($9) for a ticket to ride all local and regional public transport in Germany.

Just Stop Oil’s goals are slightly different. The group is demanding a statement from the UK government saying it will “immediately halt future licenses and approvals to explore, develop and produce fossil fuels in the UK,” according to the organization. website.

Alex de Kooning, a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil, told that euronewsletterDavid Morrican The group is inspired by previous nonviolent civil resistance movements.

“The massive resistance is how women got the vote, how African Americans got the vote, how we got UK health and safety laws, as well as gay rights,” he told the publication. “Suffragists cut out the plates and violently destroyed them, while we were throwing soup on a pan of glass but we still tried to get the message across in the same way and make people question their comfort zones.”

road blockade

Protesters of the last generation block a road in Berlin.

Jill Letzte

Olaf ZimmermannThe Executive Director of the German Cultural Council condemns members of the last generation who have touched themselves with art in a statement, Deutsche WelleStuart Brown.

“As far as I can understand the desperation of climate activists, I am clearly saying that the actions of sticking to the frames of famous artworks are clearly the wrong way,” he says in the statement. “The works at risk belong to the world’s cultural heritage and need to be protected and so does our climate.”

But Corina RogeVice President of the American Institute of Conservation Artnet NewsSarah Cascon says that she is more empathetic and that the actions are relatively harmless.

“They are concerned, rightly, that many governments are not taking climate concerns seriously,” she says. Artnet News. “Because museums preserve our common humanity, it is really understandable that activists are using them to try to spread awareness of how climate change threatens humanity.”

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