top of page

#MashedPotatoes: It happened again! Last Generation Activists target a Monet in Germany…

“People are starving, people are freezing, people are dying. We are in a climate catastrophe. And the only thing you’re afraid of is tomato soup or mashed potatoes on a painting!! (…)

Here we go again: on the 23rd of October, less than 2 weeks following the #TomatoSoup splashing by two of Just Stop Oil activists on ‘Sunflowers’ by Vincent Van Goth at the National Gallery in London, another art treasure has been attacked in Germany: this time it was ‘Les Meules’ by Claude Monet.

Climate activists representing the Letzte Generation (Last Generation) have thrown soup at a painting by Claude Monet hanging at Potsdam’s Barberini Museum in protest against the continued use of fossil fuels in the country. The painting (also this one covered by protective glass) and its golden frame were doused with 2 containers of mashed potatoes soup, and the activists glued themselves under the artwork whilst shouting their views against the use of fossil fuels as follows:

“People are starving, people are freezing, people are dying. We are in a climate catastrophe. And the only thing you’re afraid of is tomato soup or mashed potatoes on a painting!! (…) Do you know what I’m afraid of? That science says that we will not be able to feed our families in 2050. Does it take mashed potatoes on a painting to make you listen? This painting will be worth nothing when we are fighting over food. When is the point that you will finally listen and not just carry on as before?”

This act went once again viral on Twitter where other climate activists stated:

“If it takes a painting - with #MashedPotatoes or #TomatoSoup thrown at it - to make society remember that the fossil fuel course is killing us all: Then we’ll give you #MashedPotatoes on a painting!”

Let’s remember - before expanding on why activists in Europe and the UK are targeting artworks in gestures of political resistance - that on the 30th of July this year, Italian activists glued themselves to ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’ (1913) by prominent Futurist artist Umberto Boccioni, displayed at the Museo del Novecento in Milan. And that in June 2022, members of the same group stuck their hands to an artwork in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

So…what do these youngsters want? They demand that governments stop all future licensing and consent for the exploration, development, and production of fossil fuels. And why? Because they are scared, and worried about the future of GenY and Z; and therefore are acting against the actions of the older generations still in power and which carry on acting in ways that will leave a trashed and incredibly unequal planet to the future generations.

But why manifest such goals with attacks on museums and artworks rather than vandalizing politicians’ private property or harming them? Well, the youngsters understand that art is culture, and as this is a cry for help and for being heard by representatives of their own civilization, they are targeting an incredibly meaningful, valuable, and fragile expression of culture itself.

Art is as precious and as vulnerable as the Planet and humanity itself; it is a metaphor for all that the older generations are disrespecting and destroying. We think that the act of mirroring such atrocious behaviour on behalf of GenY and Z, which is directed to art rather than to the Planet and humanity at large, has a strong symbolic meaning. Albeit highly controversial for its potentially destructive effect on works of art, the activist attack on art reflects the broader and incredibly catastrophic way in which political and economic forces have been treating natural and human resources for centuries now.

These activists also show their own understanding and judgment of the art world, as proved by Hannah, one of Just Stop Oil members: “The aim was just to say to our culture, basically, that you can't be hiding from this. At this stage, everyone is responsible, everyone is going to be impacted by the climate crisis. (…) The art world, she says, doesn’t exist in isolation. I'm an art student, myself, and it does sometimes feel like the art world views itself as existing in isolation from the rest of the world. But, you know, the climate crisis affects all of us”.


Are you enjoying our content?

Leave your like and comment on this post, we want to know your opinion.

12 views0 comments


bottom of page