The Latest Climate Protests, Ranked

Climate activists aren’t taking a break for Halloween, and this weekend saw another wave of protests across Europe. Activists chose artworks less famous than their recently targeted “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (c. 1665) by Johannes Vermeer or “Sunflowers” (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh, but they did deploy a few new tactics, including trying their own hand at painting and relaying their message from beneath a crouching dinosaur.

And since we can all agree these actions are getting a little repetitive — even if the message behind them is no less urgent — we got a little creative and rated this weekend’s interventions out of five “stars” (we used the tomato soup can emoji, of course). Ratings are based on quality of execution and freshness of soup — ehm, concept.

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Just Stop Oil Spray-Paints London

Members of Just Stop Oil created some art of their own this morning when they embarked on a London spray-painting spree, giving the government’s Home Office, the Bank of England, the MI5 headquarters, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp UK building fresh coats of bright orange paint. Late last week, the group also sprayed the vibrant color onto a Rolex shop and luxury car dealerships including Ferrari, Bentley, and Bugatti outposts. The color is in the group’s logo, but it felt especially timely for Halloween, and the group’s attack on Rupert Murdoch’s conservative tabloid empire appeared especially relevant. Members covered up the word “news” with their signature pigment (after all, what could be more newsworthy than climate disaster?) and scored some excellent photos, the best featuring a man meditating while a security guard walks away with the paint canister.

Rating: 🥫🥫🥫🥫🥫

Activists Get Sticky With Dinosaurs

Yesterday, two members of Germany’s chapter of Last Generation (you know, the ones who threw mashed potatoes at a Monet two weeks ago?) taped their hands to the metal bars under a dinosaur exhibition at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin. While targeting dinosaur skeletons is a fun divergence from expensive artworks, the action was a little too on the nose. “Do we want to die like the dinosaurs, or do we want to survive?” asked one of the activists. According to a museum statement, police ended the action in under an hour, there was property damage, and criminal charges have been filed.

Rating: 🥫🥫

Protester (Almost) Soups a Gauguin

On Thursday, museum guards stopped a woman wearing a “Just Stop Oil” shirt and carrying a soup-filed water bottle before she could empty its contents onto a painting at Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, according to Le Parisien. The outlet reported that the woman’s initial target was Vincent van Gogh’s famous “Self-Portrait in Saint-Rémy” (1889) but she had ultimately decided to settle on a painting by Paul Gaugin. The museum did not respond to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

Just Stop Oil told Hyperallergic that they are a United Kingdom campaign and therefore do not protest outside of the country. Unsanctioned protesters, however, aren’t new. Last week, another unaffiliated activist glued his head to Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” (c. 1665) after his colleague covered it in a canned red substance. These two unaffiliated actions suggest that Just Stop Oil has a real knack for execution: The Vermeer protest elicited a crowd response that turned from disgust into disapproving heckling, and this most recent protest didn’t even happen.

Rating: 🥫, for effort

A Random Attack on Toulouse-Lautrec’s “Clown”

In Berlin on Thursday, a woman glued her hand to the wall and threw a red liquid at Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s “Clown” (1886–1887) at the Alte Nationalgalerie. This is technically an honorable mention, since although it was ultimately successful, the museum told Hyperallergic that the protest was not climate related, no climate activism group took responsibility for the action, and the protest seems to have maintained a low-profile online. An Alte Nationalgalerie spokesperson said that the woman distributed leaflets unrelated to climate justice, but the museum declined to disclose the specifics of the pamphlets’ contents.

Rating: 🥫🥫


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