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Letzte Generation (Last Generation) attack “Death and Life” (1915) by Gustav Klimt to protest Austria’s use of fossil fuels.
On Tuesday, climate activists in Austria sprayed a famous painting by artist Gustav Klimt with a dark, greasy liquid before gluing themselves to glass covering the picture’s frame.
Last Generation Austria members tweeted that they had targeted the 1915 painting Death and Life at the Leopold Museum in Vienna to protest their government’s usage of fossil fuels.
One activist was forced away by a museum guard after dumping the liquid on the picture, which was not damaged, while another bonded his hand to the glass above the painting’s frame.
In a tweet, the group defended the protest, claiming that they were denouncing “oil and gas drilling,” which they dubbed a “death sentence to civilization.”
Following the attack, police came at the museum and promptly washed the black liquid from the glass shielding the painting, according to Austria Press Agency.
Despite strict security at the museum’s entrance, the activists were able to sneak the liquid inside by concealing it in a hot water bottle under their garments, according to the agency.
The Leopold Museum’s director, Hans-Peter Wipplinger, told APA that climate activists’ concerns were reasonable, but “attacking pieces of art is clearly the incorrect approach to execute the desired goal of preventing the expected climate catastrophe.”
He encouraged the group to find alternative ways to express their concerns.