Activists smeared black and red paint on a famous art display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., on Thursday to demand President Joe Biden declare a “climate emergency,” The Washington Post reported.
The protesters used their hands to streak the paint on the glass barrier covering “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,” a sculpture by French artist Edgar Degas, as well as left their handprints and painted a small frowning face and a heart on the base, according to a video shared by the Post. The protesters then sat down on the floor to lecture those around them about climate change. (RELATED: Climate Group Behind Headline-Grabbing Protests Is A ‘Cult,’ Former Member Says)
“We need our leaders to take serious action, to tell us the truth about what’s happening with the climate,” one of the activists said, holding her hands up to show off the red paint.
The other protest, a man, said that while the two are “adults” who “should be at home working,” he can’t do his job without “a government that does their job in looking out for the health and safety of our children,” according to the video. The woman said that they are parents whose “job is to protect our children and future children.”
The pair were handcuffed and escorted from the room by police, the video shows.
“Today a priceless work of art in our collection, Degas’s original wax Little Dancer, was attacked by protestors with swaths of red and black paint. After attacking the Degas sculpture, they made statements about climate issues,” Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The work was displayed in a plexiglass case and has been taken off view so that our expert conservation team can assess potential damage to it. Gallery 3, where Little Dancer was on display, and several connecting galleries on the ground floor of the West Building are closed until further notice.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the open investigation, Feldman said.
“We unequivocally denounce this physical attack on one of our works of art and will continue to share information as it becomes available,” she continued. “The safety and security of our staff and visitors and of our collection remain our highest priority.”
Protesters smeared paint on the case and pedestal of Edgar Degas’s “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” sculpture in the National Gallery of Art in D.C. to bring attention to the climate crisis and demand that President Biden declare a climate emergency. https://t.co/FWiuFqJzId pic.twitter.com/8AQkeIWlQH
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 27, 2023
Biden signed an executive order on April 21 to establish a new Office of Environmental Justice and directs federal agencies to consider how climate change disproportionately impacts low-income and minority communities. It also expands the Justice40 Initiative that directs 40% of funds from some federal projects to “marginalized” and “underserved” communities that are “overburdened by pollution” and makes environmental justice a “duty” of all executive agencies.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on April 21 that the president has “the most ambitious climate agenda than any other president in history” during a press conference later that day, dodging a question from a reporter on how the executive order would benefit people impacted by a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
“This is just delivering again on how he sees moving forward with dealing with climate change, his promise that he made in 2020 and as he continues to deliver throughout his tenure here,” she had said. “That is going to be our focus. He’s going to continue to do more work to make sure that we deal with an issue that’s incredibly important.”
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