Arts & Entertainment

Climate Activists Capture the World's Attention with the Recent Attacks on Art

By Victoria Cornet

Illustration of a piece of art that has been destroyed.Maya Jess
Throughout this year there have been a series of attacks on different masterpieces by climate change activists.
The first being on May 20th when a man disguised as an elderly woman attempted to smear cake on the Mona Lisa. As the man was being dragged away by police he shouted, “Think of the planet! . . . There are people who are destroying the planet, think about that! . . . That’s why I did it!” This event sparked more paintings around the world to be victims of climate-related protests such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Johannes Vermee’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Gustav Klimt’s Death and Life, and many more.
"How do you feel when you see something beautiful and priceless being apparently destroyed before your eyes? Do you feel outraged? Good. That is the feeling when you see the planet being destroyed before our very eyes." These words were uttered by the activists who attacked the Girl with a Pearl Earring. The goal of these protestors was to catch the world’s eye causing people to be more aware of the destruction of the planet. 
Illustration of the Mona Lisa and The Girl With a Pearl Earring with a fiery background.
Illustration of the Mona Lisa and The Girl With a Pearl Earring with a fiery background. Samia Perez
Illustration by Samia Perez
In response to these recent events, the National Committee in Germany of ICOM, the International Council of Museums, has issued a statement that is co-signed by 92 representatives of cultural institutions. The statement primarily focuses on the potential damages of the artworks rather than whether these actions are effective in pressing government officials to enact real climate policies. The letter reads, “The activists severely underestimate the fragility of these irreplaceable objects, which must be preserved as part of our world cultural heritage.” The signatories continue, “As museum directors entrusted with the care of these works, we have been deeply shaken by their risky endangerment.”
The world remains very split on this issue, on one hand, some people say the protesters achieved their goal of making more people aware of the effects of climate change, on the other hand, some people feel that this new and controversial method of protest is not virtuous and is basically vandalism. Is this a form of protest or vandalism, as this creates an immoral protest on global warming?
Art Credits to Maya Jess