Why do climate activists glue themselves to art in Italy?

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Climate change activists stuck to a futuristic sculpture this week, a month after members of the same group glued their hands to an artwork in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

The protesters say they want to draw attention to the looming environmental crisis, but why have they chosen to hold demonstrations in Italy’s museums and galleries?

Climate protesters cling to modern sculpture

On July 30, activists from the Ultima Generazione group glued themselves to the pedestal of a sculpture in the Museo del Novecento in Milan.

The artwork in question was Unique forms of continuity in space (1913) by the prominent futurist artist Umberto Boccioni.

The group posted a video of the stunt on Instagram. One of the protesters fixed to the pedestal says: “Scientists say there is time to act, but the window is closing […] Do you want to destroy yourself?”

Activists glue hands to Botticelli’s Primavera painting

Last month, protesters from the Ultima Generazione group also made headlines when they stuck their hands to one of Italy’s most famous works of art.

The activists clung to Sandro Botticelli’s Primaveraa 15th-century masterpiece housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Why are environmental protesters attached to art?

The climate activist group says it has deliberately chosen to attack museums and galleries.

“We don’t have time to keep investing in fossil fuels. We will not be arrested lightly, but we must immediately understand that there will be no art on a collapsing planet,” explains Simone, one of the group’s spokespersons.

“There will be no art of any kind if we can’t afford to eat, if we die from heat waves. That is why we ask the culture to take our side and put pressure on the government.”

The action group also explained why they chose a futuristic work this time. “We have to change direction. We have glued ourselves to Boccioni’s work because we can no longer afford to continue making economic progress,” the group said in an online statement.

“The progress the futurists hoped for is leading us to mass extinction.”

The group is asking the government to prevent the reopening of disused coal-fired power plants and increase production of solar and wind energy.

Were the artworks damaged during the climate protests?

The activists say neither artwork was damaged during the demonstrations.

The group says it consulted conservators who recommended a suitable adhesive. “For us, it’s important to improve art rather than damage it, as our governments do with the only planet we have at our disposal,” said one activist.

However, the group is charged with “damage and opposition to a government official”.

The protests in Italy follow similar stunts in the UK at leading museums and galleries.

Climate activists from the Just Stop Oil group attached themselves to important works of art in the National Gallery in London, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow, Manchester Art Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

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