92 museum dirs speak out on climate protests
Gareth Harris, Activists ‘severely underestimate the fragility’ of objects: 92 museum directors speak out against climate protests, The Art Newspaper, 10 November 2022
The signatories of the open letter include the directors of the Musée du Louvre and New York’s Museum of Modern Art
Directors from 92 institutions worldwide, including the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), have signed a statement warning that recent attacks on works in museums by eco activists are putting such masterpieces at risk.
Laurence des Cars of the Louvre and Glenn Lowry of MoMA say they are “deeply shaken” by recent attacks on works at venues such as the National Gallery in London, the Prado in Madrid and the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. Other signatories include Miguel Falomir, the director of the Prado; Hartwig Fischer, the director of the British Museum in London and Anne Pasternak the director of the Brooklyn Museum in New York.
“Museums are places where people from a wide variety of backgrounds can engage in dialogue and which therefore enable social discourse. In this sense, the core tasks of the museum as an institution—collecting, researching, sharing and preserving—are now more relevant than ever. We will continue to advocate for direct access to our cultural heritage. And we will maintain the museum as a free space for social communication.”
The continued attacks at museums and galleries, by groups such as Just Stop Oil and Ultima Generazione (Last Generation), take place against the backdrop of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, Cop27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, which has prompted questions about how museums tackle the climate change crisis.
Robert Janes, a researcher at the School of Museum Studies in Leicester, UK, wrote in the online publication The Beam: “Why is the global museum community not confronting climate change with its collective will and intelligence? One explanation is that climate change is a taboo subject—not to be talked about with family, friends and colleagues.”