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Protesters glued to a Van Gogh painting
Just Stop Oil

Anti-oil protesters glued themselves to a Van Gogh painting at the Courtauld

Yes, it was an oil painting

Written by
Eddy Frankel
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London’s Courtauld Gallery got themselves into a bit of a sticky situation when two protestors showed up and glued themselves to one of their Van Goghs yesterday. The protestors were young supporters of Just Stop Oil, a group which just wants to stop oil, obviously, and is calling ‘for the government to end new oil and gas and for art institutions to join them in civil resistance.’

The duo – Louis McKechnie and Emily Brocklebank – stuck themselves to Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 work ‘Peach Trees in Blossom’, a bucolic vision of the undulating southern French countryside. Fortunately, they only glued themselves to the frame, so the painting remains undamaged. 

Louis said: ‘As a kid I used to love this painting, my dad took me to see it when we visited London. I still love this painting, but I love my friends and family more, I love nature more. I value the future survival of my generation more highly than my public reputation…It is immoral for cultural institutions to stand by and watch whilst our society descends into collapse. Galleries should close. Directors of art institutions should be calling on the government to stop all new oil and gas projects immediately. We are either in resistance or we are complicit.’

London’s art galleries and museums have a long history of accepting sponsorship from oil companies, and attracting waves of protests in the process. The Tate was sponsored by BP for 26 years, until Liberate Tate’s attention-grabbing tactics – including pouring oil into the Turbine Hall and graffitiing the gallery – put an end to that in 2016. The British Museum is still sponsored by BP, despite protests by groups like BP or not BP, and the Science Museum is sponsored by Shell. Could they be next to fall victim to these sticky bandits? Keep your eyes glued to the news to find out.

Want some art that doesn't have protestors stuck to it? Here are the ten best exhibitions in London.

Want some art that doesn't have protestors stuck to it, but free? Here are London's free art exhibitions

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