Environmental activists glued themselves to a painting at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow yesterday. Members of the group Just Stop Oil also spray-painted their logo on the walls and floors of the museum; the protestors say they are calling “for the government to end new oil and gas [extraction] and for art institutions to join them in civil resistance”.
Two demonstrators attached themselves to the frame of a 19th-century landscape by Horatio McCulloch, entitled My Heart’s In The Highlands, which is located on the first floor of the gallery. The canvas itself appears to be unharmed. As they were led away by police, one of the protestors said that the “art world is responsible; every sector of our culture is responsible.” At the time of writing, the individuals detained are still in police custody.
Emma Brown, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art, says in a statement: “Art is about telling the truth and connecting to our deepest emotions. But right now, when we need them most, art institutions are failing us.”
She adds: “They seem to think it’s enough to put on an exhibition about climate change rather than challenge the government’s genocidal plans to allow new oil and gas. This is unacceptable, it’s not enough to be informed as citizens, we need to be active.”
Hannah Torrance Bright, a student at the Glasgow School of Art, says: “I’m an artist, I love art, but instead of spending my time making art I’m taking actions like this, spending time in and out of cells, and being punished by our legal system for begging the government to let my generation have a future. We hold these works of art sacred, but what is more sacred than life itself?”
Officials at Kelvingrove said in a statement that the museum has reopened today.