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Climate Activists Protest in Front of Andy Warhol Paintings

The paintings of Campbell’s Soup cans were scrawled over.

In recent months, climate change and anti-oil protestors and activists have found consistent protest subjects in the form of prominent paintings and art pieces. Last month, protestors from Just Stop Oil splashed Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” with soup at the National Gallery in London, and not long after, Letzte Generation protestors threw mashed potatoes at Monet’s “Les Meules” at the Museum Barberini. The bold moves have been made to draw attention to the importance of climate change and malpractice by global oil industries.

This week, another activist group has followed the trend, this time at the National Gallery of Australia. On Wednesday, protestors from the group Stop Fossil Fuel Subsidies entered the gallery and visited one of its prized pieces, Andy Warhol’s collection of Campbell’s Tomato Soup paintings, collectively known as Campbell’s Soup I. The protestors used spray paint to scrawl over the paintings, then glued their hands to the nearby wall.

One of the protestors, Bonnie Cassen, said in a public statement that Warhol’s soup cans were meant to depict “consumerism gone mad,” which is why they were chosen for the protest. “And now we have capitalism gone mad,” she said. “Families are having to choose between medicine and food for their children while fossil fuel companies return record profits. And yet our government gives $22,000 a minute in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.”

As the paintings were behind glass, they were not damaged by the spray paint. As for the operators of the gallery, they kept their thoughts on the matter short and concise.

“A protest has taken place at the National Gallery of Australia following similar incidents elsewhere in Australia and overseas,” they said. “The national gallery does not wish to promote these actions and has no further comment.”

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