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Boston museum thwarts planned climate protest by closing early

UPI
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston thwarted a planned climate protest Thursday by closing early out of fear protesters would damage items held in its collection, the institution said this week. Photo courtesy of Lita Xú Líng Kelley

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston thwarted a planned climate protest Thursday by closing early out of fear protesters would damage items held in its collection, the institution said this week.

"Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Museum will close today, Thursday, September 7, at 5:00 p.m. Ticket holders will receive additional information via email. We apologize for the inconvenience," the museum wrote in a statement on Twitter. The institution is open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.

In a newsletter, the museum said that the climate advocacy group Extinction Rebellion Boston had planned to put their own art in empty frames in the institution's Dutch Room. The protest group shot down those claims in a statement Friday.

"The museum chose to close their business for the remainder of the evening, rather than allow a non-destructive group of concerned art-lovers to visit," the Extinction Rebellion Boston said in its statement.

"No member of XR Boston intended to put art in the empty frames of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on September 7, nor did we ever announce a plan to do so."

Instead, the group alleged that it had planned what it called a "peaceful regenerative field trip" for its members to view the museum's collection.

"We do not understand the museum's decision to close their doors citing our organization without reaching out to us beforehand," the protest group claimed.

However, the group admitted that it had planned to hang original art in the Gardner Museum's empty frames during a protest in March, "after researching how to accomplish this action with no damage to museum property." The protesters were thwarted in that protest as well.

Climate change protests have targeted art museums and cultural sites in recent months to urge companies and governments to do more to save the planet. The logic largely relies on making a statement against the financiers and executives who donate to and sit on the boards of such institutions.

Last August, climate activists with the group Last Generation glued themselves to the base of a famous sculpture at the Vatican Museums.

In November, the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain, said it would increase security in response to such protests, particularly in a room that holds Pablo Picasso's famous Guernica mural, which had not been safeguarded by glass.

Two climate activists who smeared paint on the protective casing around one of the most famous sculptures in modern art history, Edgar Degas' Little Dancer Age Fourteen, in April were indicted in May by a grand jury in Washington.

That same month, Last Generation activists dumped charcoal into the water of Rome's famed Trevi Fountain in Italy, turning the water black briefly.