Green fanatic attacks beloved sunflower masterpiece of Vincent van Gogh in London
There's some kind of sickness affecting the green movement in Europe, given its strange affinity for attacks on the great works of Western art.
In London, at the National Gallery this morning, they were at it again. According to the New York Times:
At just after 11 a.m. on Friday, two members of Just Stop Oil, a group that seeks to stop oil and gas extraction in Britain, entered room 43 of the National Gallery in London, opened two tins of Heinz cream of tomato soup, and threw them at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,” one of the treasures of the museum’s collection. It is one of six surviving images of sunflowers that van Gogh made in 1888 and 1889.
Here's a video of these fanatics in action:
I find this nightmarish iconoclasm Taliban-like in its sick certitude & imperious self-righteousness & implied hatred of any other idea of beauty. The art world needs to stand up to this. I love beauty & hate the destruction of the earth. Paradox. pic.twitter.com/whfJKeqDDM— Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) October 14, 2022
Saltz is a leading art critic with impeccable judgment in his field.
He's right on the money about the godawful act these fanatics have "achieved" which effectively puts all art on notice that it's now a target for maniacs for getting their "message" out there. This is truly nasty stuff and the disturbing thing is that they've been doing it for awhile (I wrote about one such attack here) and with each Taliban act, they're taking it a step or two lower, each time getting worse. The New York Times has a list of the latest outrages from this bunch. As I wrote here:
What we have here is the ancient artistic heritage of the world now becoming a backdrop and glue target for any and every ill considered environmental cause out there, as if the attention should no longer be on the artwork itself, but on these clowns.
It's disgusting in the extreme, and the NCR notes that in the Florence case, the clowns were barely punished:
Last month, protesters glued their hands to the glass window protecting Sandro Botticelli's painting "Spring" in the Uffizi Galleries in Florence. In that case, they were detained and ordered to stay out of Florence for three years, Italian media said.
Art is a fragile and non-renewable thing, quite unlike these proliferating activists, and for that matter, the Earth itself. What we have here is hostage-taking by scum who wouldn't know art if it was right there glued to their grubby hands. That they keep targeting priceless masterpieces that can't be replaced is a sure sign that their aims are for ill. Conserve the Earth? They can't even conserve irreplaceable art. In reality, these glue acts demonstrate their hatred of humanity at work here, in the name of "saving the Earth." We have long known that environmental wackos have had a problem with the mere existence of people.
One day one of them is going to destroy something big, and the world will be the poorer for it.
We are getting closer to that day now. The clowns were arrested, but like the glue fiends in Florence, they'll likely be let off with a slap on the wrist. They'll claim they did no damage, but they most certainly did damage -- someone had to clean up that mess, for starters, and someone had to repair that goobered-up frame, and the curators had to do the damage assessment. The act of desecration had certain costs, and yes, tomato soup is acidic so I am not completely convinced that the protective coating rendered the entire act damageless, time will tell. The damage goes beyond the paintings, though: The rest of us will have to look at art behind bulletproof glass and big ropes and guards with guns, and the quality of our lives will be diminished. This is getting to a world where 'we can't have nice things' pretty fast.
The snide, stupid, truly idiotic claim of the protestors, with their phony straw man "choice" about protection of a painting or protection of the planet and people is particularly galling. There is no choice here, the art is not theirs to trash, the art belongs to generations ahead of us, same as the Earth itself does, so the hypocrisy here is astounding.
Hypocrisies abound in this latest act.
These jerks wasted food, which is hardly a conservationist goal. They yelled about oil extraction but did you notice how many petroleum products they used? Take a gander at the one with pink hair, or the printing on their tshirts, or the colorful glossy paper soup label, all petroleum product consumption. If they wear vegan leather footwear, odds are good they consumed even more petroleum products. Let's just say they aren't serious about the environment here, they are serious about getting their names in the press -- and doing a lot of damage to their cause, since nobody sane supports this kind of garbage. We thought they had TikTok for that.
More to the point, the leading historian Simon Schama, pointed out an unusually important irony about these morons in their choice of target:
ditto - and who exactly among modern painters loved nature and the earth more devotedly than Vincent and produced a whole new visual language to glorify it?— Simon Schama (@simon_schama) October 14, 2022
Van Gogh was a nature lover. He loved nature, and they threw garbage on him. What a bunch of polluters.
Saltz is right that the art world needs to get far more vocal about this trend, because it makes no sense. What does make sense is tougher penalties for self-aggrandizing attacks on world-heritage artwork. Longer jail terms, or maybe a very tough professor forcing them to learn art history whether they like it or not, their only escape passing the course. The art world needs to stand up to this, as does everyone else because civilization is under attack and the hour is getting late now.
Image: Twitter video screen shot