Watch: Mashed Potatoes Thrown on Monet’s Painting by Climate Activists
Claude Monet became the latest artist at the center of food-related climate protests after members of a German environmental group threw mashed potatoes on one of his paintings in a Potsdam museum on Sunday.
Nine days after Just Stop Oil emptied Vincent van Gogh’s tomato soup on sunflowers at the National Gallery in London, two activists from Letzte generation (Last Generation) walked into the Barberini Museum and sprinkled Monet’s Les Meules (Haystacks) with potatoes before gluing his hands to the wall.
Protesters said the stunt was designed as a wake-up call in the face of a climate catastrophe. “People are starving, people are freezing, people are dying,” said one of the activists in a video of the accident tweeted by Letzte Generation.
“We are in a climate catastrophe and all you fear is tomato soup or mashed potatoes on a painting. Do you know what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid because science tells us that we won’t be able to feed our families in 2050, “the protester said.” Does it take mashed potatoes on a painting to get you to listen? This painting will be worth nothing if we have to fight for food. When will you finally start listening? When will you finally start listening and stop working as usual? “
The group said they decided to make “this Monet the stage and the audience the audience” to try to get his message across. “If you need to carve a painting with mashed potatoes or tomato soup to remind society that the fossil course is killing us all, then we give you mashed potatoes on a painting,” he added.
A museum spokesperson said the painting was protected by glass and the museum later said it didn’t appear to have been damaged.
The spokesman said the police arrived quickly and that the demonstrators’ hands were removed from the wall “relatively easily”.
Last year, Letzte Generation members staged a hunger strike outside the Reichstag building in Berlin to protest the lack of political action for the climate emergency. Earlier this year, they bonded to some of Germany’s busiest motorways.
The group, which accuses the German government of ignoring all warnings and bringing the country to the “edge of the abyss”, claims to be part of the last generation that can prevent the collapse of society.
“Faced with this reality, we accept on high [fines]criminal charges and undeterred deprivation of liberty, “reads its website.
Art galleries have recently become popular spots for attention-grabbing protests. In July, two members of the Italian group of climate activists Ultima Generazione (also Last Generation) glued their palms to the glass that protected Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and unrolled a banner reading “Last Generation No Gas No Coal” (Latest Generation, No Gas, No Coal).
A fortnight earlier, Just Stop Oil activists glued themselves to the frame of a 500-year-old painting of the Last Supper at the Royal Academy in London.