Mashed potatoes at Monet, soup on Van Gogh: Activist says there’s no choice

On Balance with Leland Vittert

Handout photo issued by Just Stop Oil of two protesters who have thrown tinned soup at Vincent Van Gogh’s famous 1888 work Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London, Friday Oct. 14, 2022. (Just Stop Oil via AP)

(NewsNation) —  Climate activists with the group Last Generation tossed mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting in a German museum to protest fossil fuel extraction on Sunday. The painting, part of Monet’s “Haystacks” series, did not receive any damage since it was enclosed in glass.

The Monet painting is the latest artwork to be targeted by climate activists. Earlier this month, the British group Just Stop Oil threw tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London. They also glued themselves to the frame of an early copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” and John Constable’s “The Hay Wain.”

Videos of the demonstrators sharing sentiments like, “Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet?” have made the rounds on social media.

Just Stop Oil spokesman Dr. Patrick Hart joined “On Balance with Leland Vittert” to speak about their mission. He explained that there’s no hidden meaning in the art aspect of the demonstration, it’s just being used to gain more traction online.

“I wish we didn’t have to do any of this. I wish that our politicians, that our leaders, will actually make the right decisions that do the right thing to protect our future. We’ve been trying for years to ask in all the usual formats,” Hart said.

Hart acknowledged there’s a lot of talk about the issues he cares about from political leaders but said there’s often no movement when it comes to legislation. He says his group will continue with their demonstrations until they see some action.

Hart insists that the demonstrations will not become violent and for him it’s about doing what’s right.

“We are constantly saying that we’re a nonviolent, peaceful, civil resistance group. Everything we do is absolutely grounded in being nonviolent. It’s drilled into us. We trained to do this,” Hart said. “The fact is, we’ve seen hundreds of these actions now and not a single instance of violence. So actually, that’s extraordinary. I fear violence when we see supermarkets run out of food, when people are fighting wars over access to fresh water, then we’ll see violence. This is what we’re trying to avoid. This is the absolute nightmarish world that we’re headed towards.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 1998 - 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation

Elections 2022

More Elections 2022