Latest News

Back to Latest News back


World art museums release combined statement condemning environmental protestors damage to ‘irreplaceable’ artworks

World art museums release combined statement condemning environmental protestors damage to ‘irreplaceable’ artworks
November 11, 2022

A group of 93 Museum Directors from some of the world's leading art galleries and museums have released a statement condemning the spate of recent attacks on artworks by climate activists.

Accusing protesters of underestimating the fr”agility” of artworks, the statement said that activists were  severely underestimating the fragility of the "irreplaceable" artworks they have targeted with actions ranging from throwing food to people gluing themselves to  paintings

The National Art Gallery of Australia was targeted this week by climate change protesters, who glued themselves to Andy Warhol’s Campbell's Soup Cans.

The statement, released today by the International Council of Museums in Germany said activists "severely underestimate the fragility of these irreplaceable objects, which must be preserved as part of our world cultural heritage.

"As museum directors entrusted with the care of these works, we have been deeply shaken by their risky endangerment.

"Museums are places where people from a wide variety of backgrounds can engage in dialogue and which therefore enable social discourse."

The statement went on to say the the core tasks of museums as institutions - collecting, researching, sharing and preserving - are more relevant than ever, adding “we will continue to advocate for direct access to our cultural heritage. And we will maintain the museum as a free space for social communication.”

The statement was co-signed by 93 museum directors, including those from the Louvre in Paris, the Prado in Madrid and the National Gallery, London.

Protesters have vandalised some of the world's most well-known paintings including Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer in the Netherlands, Claude Monet's Les Meules (Haystacks) in Germany, Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers in London and Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa in Paris.

A man was arrested and taken into psychiatric care in May after smearing cake on the Mona Lisa, while two protesters in Melbourne were arrested in October for gluing themselves to the protective covering of a Picasso print at the National Gallery of Victoria.

A variety of groups including Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil have claimed responsibility for the art attacks.

Image: Just Stop Oil protesters threw cans of soup at Van Gogh's Sunflowers at London's National Gallery. Credit: Twitter/Just Stop Oil.

Related Articles

21st October 2022 - Sponsorship’s new paradigm

6th October 2022 - Hong Kong Palace Museum showcases European masterpieces to advance dialogue among world civilisations

3rd August 2022 - Protest meeting demands that Sydney’s National Centre of Indigenous Excellence remains open

14th May 2022 - Protesting insurance crisis operators halt rides at regional shows across NSW and Queensland

18th December 2021 - Protesters return to campaign against Sea World’s dolphins

3rd June 2021 - Waikato Museum exhibition marks 40th anniversary of anti-Springbok Tour protests

26th November 2020 - Darwin Lord Mayor calls for immediate action on Climate Change to mitigate impacts on facilities and environment

6th December 2019 - Tourism Report calls for more effective climate change strategies to save our oceans

20th September 2019 - International sport bodies unite to combat climate change

18th September 2019 - New report highlights the increased threat of climate change on Australian wildlife

28th August 2019 - Hong Kong trade exhibitions and conferences continue largely unaffected by protests

22nd May 2018 - QTIC event to launch tourism industry climate change response plan

9th February 2018 - Climate change threatening Australian tourism