On Monday, climate protesters engaged in yet another attack on the art world in order to gain publicity for their campaign against fossil fuel. This time the anti-fossil fuel group, Just Stop Oil, attacked a painting at the National Gallery in London.
The same group also attacked a piece at the Royal Academy in London on Tuesday.
Recall that in late May a climate agitator feigned a handicap in order to get close to the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. That protester ultimately was able to smear a pastry on the glass protecting Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, one of the most famous pieces of art in the world.
Monday’s attack in London was aimed at John Constable’s classic work The Hay Wain, a 200-year-old work that depicts a rural river scene in England.
“The Hay Wain suffered minor damage to its frame and there was also some disruption to the surface of the varnish on the painting — both of which have now been successfully dealt with,” a spokesperson for the gallery said.
Just Stop Oil’s founder Hannah Hunt, 23 and her accomplice Eben Lazarus, 22, plastered an apocalyptic scene over the idyllic painting and then glued themselves to the frame. According to the group their “replacement” for Constable’s masterpiece was intended to show a “nightmare scene that demonstrates how oil will destroy our countryside.”
“I’m here because our government plans to license 40 new UK oil and gas projects in the next few years. This makes them complicit in pushing the world towards an unlivable climate and in the death of billions of people in the coming decades,” Hunt declared.
“You can forget our ‘green and pleasant land’ when further oil extraction will lead to widespread crop failures which means we will be fighting for food. Ultimately, new fossil fuels are a death project by our government. So yes there is glue on the frame of this painting but there is blood on the hands of our government,” the psychology student added.
The Daily Mail notes that, ironically, Hunt seems to be a bit of an energy glutton herself who may have racked up close to 50,000 travel miles on airplanes, with trips to Bali, Australia, and the Canary Islands documented on her social media. What manner of transportation did she and Mr. Lazarus take to the National Gallery?
“I want to work in the arts, not disrupt,” Lazarus, an aspiring musician ranted while glued to the painting. “But the situation we’re in means that we have to do everything nonviolently possible to prevent the civilizational collapse that we are hurtling towards.”
The group apparently struck again on Monday at the Royal Academy in London when two more climate activists — 47-year-old Lucy Porter and 21-year old Jessica Agar — spray painted, “No New Oil” on the wall and, again, glued themselves to a nearly life sized version of “The Last Supper,” which is believed to have been painted by da Vinci disciple Giampietrino in the 1500s.
“We have no time left, to say that we do is a lie. We must halt all new oil and gas right now, we will stop disrupting art institutions as soon as the government makes a meaningful statement to do so. Until then, the disruption will continue so that young people know we are doing all we can for them. There is nothing I would rather be doing,” Porter said.
Agar said: “I am an art student but there is no place for me to follow my calling as an artist in a world where I have no future. In no uncertain terms, the establishment – of which the Royal Academy is a part – has condemned me and all young people to suffer. I am outraged and you should be too.”
Hunt and her allies plan to continue agitating until the UK government meets their demands: “The disruption will end as soon as the UK government makes a meaningful statement that it will end new oil and gas licenses.”
A briefing from the UK’s National Police Coordination Center (NPCC) is warning galleries to step up security measures as it appears that the group is “highly likely to continue targeting high-value artworks in order to generate further international news coverage for their campaign messaging.”