Claude Monet has become the latest artist to be focused on climate protests related to food, after members of a German environmental group threw mashed potatoes over one of his paintings at the Potsdam Museum on Sunday.
Nine days after Just Stop Oil dumped Vincent van Gogh’s sunflower tomato soup at the National Gallery in London, activists from Jill Letzte The (last generation) entered the Barberini Museum and doused the Monet’s Les Meules (Haystacks) with potatoes before sticking their hands on the wall.
Protesters said the stunt was designed as a wake-up call in the face of climate catastrophe. Said one of the activists in video About the incident a tweet by Jill Letzte.
“We’re in a climate disaster and all you fear is tomato soup or mashed potatoes on a plate. Do you know what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid because science tells us we won’t be able to feed our families in 2050,” the protester said. “Does it take mashed potatoes on a plate to make you listen? That plate would be worth nothing if we had to quarrel over food. When will you finally begin to listen? When will you finally begin to listen and stop as usual?”
The group said they decided to make “Monet the theater and the audience the audience” to try to get its message across. “If it takes to throw a plate with mashed potatoes or tomato soup to remind society that the fossil cycle is killing us all, we give you mashed potatoes on a plate,” she added.
A museum spokesman said the painting was protected by glass and the museum later said it did not appear to have been damaged.
The spokesman said the police arrived quickly and that the protesters’ hands were separated from the wall “relatively easily”.
Last year, members of the Letzte generation staged a hunger strike outside the Reichstag building in Berlin to protest the lack of political action on the climate emergency. Earlier this year, they attached themselves to some of Germany’s busiest motorways.
The group, which accuses the German government of ignoring all warnings and bringing the country to “the brink”, says it is part of the last generation that can prevent society from collapsing.
Faced with this reality, we accept high [fines]Criminal charges and relentless deprivation of liberty.”
Art galleries have become popular venues for attention-grabbing protests in recent times. In July, two members of the Italian climate activist group Ultima Generazione (also The Last Generation) glued their palms to the glass protecting the Primavera by Sandro Botticelli at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and opened a banner reading “Ultima Generazione No Gas No Carbone” (The last generation, no gas, no coal).
Two weeks ago, Just Stop Oil activists attached themselves to the frame of a 500-year-old painting of the Last Supper at the Royal Academy in London.
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