Climate protesters on Wednesday glued their hands to the transparent covers of Andy Warhol’s famous “Campbell’s Soup” screen prints at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.
The protest by a group calling itself “Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies Australia” was the latest in a series of climate demonstrations targeting famous artworks around the world.
The two protesters also scrawled graffiti across the covers of the prints, which were removed for cleaning but were not damaged, according to the gallery.
“A protest has taken place at the National Gallery of Australia following similar incidents here and overseas,” the organisation said in a statement.
“The National Gallery does not wish to promote these actions and has no further comment.”
A video shared online showed one of the protesters dabbing her hand with glue before slapping it to the cover of a “Campbell’s Soup Cream of Mushroom” print.
Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup” screen prints, produced in the 1960s, remain one of the most recognisable symbols of the American pop art movement.
“Warhol took as themes everyday subject matter that resonated because of its familiar origins… such as the humble can of Campbell’s Soup,” the National Gallery of Australia wrote alongside the exhibition.
– ‘Danger of capitalism’ –
The protesters said they were targeting the Warhol prints to highlight the “danger of capitalism”.
“Andy Warhol depicted consumerism gone mad in this iconic series. And now we have capitalism gone mad,” protester Bonnie Cassen said in a statement.
“Families are having to choose between medicine and food for their children while fossil fuel companies return record profits.”
They also singled out their government’s failure to end taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuel companies.
Analysis from the Australia Institute — an independent think tank — this year found that the country paid more than Aus$11 billion (US$7 billion) in fossil fuel subsidies in 2021-2022.
“We need our government to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry,” Cassen said.
“We only have a limited time.”
Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies Australia said they were part of the “global civil resistance network” — a loose group of climate and environment activists that have made headlines in recent weeks by vandalising the protective covers of priceless paintings.
Other climate protesters have recently glued their hands to a Goya painting in Madrid, thrown tomato soup on Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London, and smeared mashed potatoes on a Claude Monet masterpiece in Potsdam, near Berlin.
While the paintings have emerged unscathed from the protests, the tomato soup incident did cause minor damage to the frame of the van Gogh.
Earlier this year, climate protesters from Blockade Australia derailed Sydney’s transport network with demonstrations blocking the city’s harbour tunnel.
In October, two activists glued their hands to the perspex cover of a Picasso painting in a Melbourne art gallery.
The painting, which was not damaged during the demonstration, was being shown on the final day of the gallery’s “The Picasso Century” exhibition. ©AFP