By Francesca Aton
Associate Digital Editor, ARTnews and Art in America
Climate activists struck again earlier this morning, when members of Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) threw roughly 18 pounds of flour at a BMW art car painted by Andy Warhol at the cultural center Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan.
Women in the group aimed to draw attention to the “collapse of the climate,” they stated. In a video, they can be seen approaching the Warhol-painted 1979 German sports car and dumping packages of flour on it. Security guards then dragged two of the activists out of the room.
“It is useless to have more sustainable materials if governments don’t even do what they have pledged to do to reduce climate-changing gas emissions,” said Maria Letizia, a researcher in science and technology of materials who took part in the protest. “Emissions continue to increase and this leads us towards hunger and wars for water, for food, for survival.
“Staying in the classroom or in workshop with my students without trying everything possible to get governments to do their part has become unbearable to me,” Letizia continued. “These young people with me in action belong to the last generation that can still do something, I want to help them so that they are not the last generation on the face of the planet.”
Members of the group had reportedly planned to stick themselves to the car windows, but were unable to do so.
The BMW art car is one of 20 that the German manufacturer had artists design. Warhol covered the BMW M1 race car with approximately 13 pounds of paint in 28 minutes in 1979. The car was subsequently driven on Le Mans circuit in Sarthe, France.
“Art is as priceless as it is untouchable,” BMW’s cultural engagement department said in a statement. “It belongs to all of humanity and reflects the great achievements of which each of us is capable. Andy Warhol’s 1979 Art Car is a unique masterpiece and we have no sympathy for a violent attack on the artist’s work defaced for many decades.”
This latest protest is one of many springing up at museums around the world on behalf of climate change. Earlier this week, for example, climate activists threw oil on a Klimt painting at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. Their ultimate goal is to highlight hypocrisy through the vandalism of artworks in order to prompt governments to take quicker action to combat the effects of climate change. In almost every case, the artworks themselves not been damaged.
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