On October 23, just 9 days after tomato soup was thrown on Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, another classic painting was vandalized. “Grainsticks” by French painter Claude Monet was the latest victim of climate activists, who threw mashed potatoes on the painting. The attack took place in Museum Barberini in Potsdam, Germany by protestors Mirjam Herrmann and Benjamin (surname not provided) from the group Last Generation. The museum stated that the work has not been harmed and it was displayed again a few days later.
These activist groups try to gain attention by vandalizing famous works of art to bring awareness to the issues of climate change. “What’s worth more, art or life?” is the common message that these groups hope to send to the public. They hope to prove that society holds these works of art more valuable than the life being destroyed by climate change, but it’s hard to tell if it’s effective. The Atlantic describes the event as “embarrassing” while MSNBC says it’s “powerful”. Many people argue that attacking famous paintings is useless and that these artists have nothing to do with climate change. They’re also angered that beloved paintings are being disrespected for indirect reasons.