Climate Vandal painted words in red on a surface next to the National Gallery of Art’s Civil War exhibition in Washington, D.C. The demonstrators wanted President Joe Biden to issue an environmental crisis proclamation. The man’s name is Geor Green, and he is part of the climate activist group Declare Emergency.
Artwork Was Not Harmed
The man, dressed in red and lavender purple, painted the words “Honor Them”. He painted them on the exterior next to the Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial sculpture (1900). The 17-foot-long patinated plaster monument by Augustus Saint-Gaudens “commemorates the valiant efforts of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the men of the Massachusetts 54th, one of the first Civil War regiments of African Americans enlisted in the North”, the museum said.
The wall next to it has an index of troops’ initials of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment. Some of them lost their lives, and some of them were injured, taken prisoner, or reported missing after the July 18, 1863, Battle of Fort Wagner. “We can confirm that the authorities arrested the person. Also, the incident is under investigation”, museum spokesperson Anabeth Guthrie said.
“We can confirm that no works of art suffered any harm. Our staff worked hard to clean the wall and reopened the gallery on Wednesday”, the museum also added. Green said his act of “strict, non-violent civil disobedience”, took place at Saint-Gaudens’ sculpture.
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Climate Vandal Explains His Concerns
“The great majority of the people who are being harmed by the climate emergency now and who will be in the future are people who look like the soldiers of the Massachusetts 54th”, Green added. He mentioned his experience helping Salt Lake City’s homeless population. Also, he explained his worries that “sinking economies” and wildfires may force more people to flee their homes.
Additionally, he expressed concern about how the climate change will impact the availability to food. This especially matters among the poorest families, who are over-represented in Black and Indigenous communities, as well as other communities of color. “I can’t sit by and do nothing”, Green wrote in his statement, published by Declare Emergency on Facebook.
This is the second climate protest at the museum associated with Declare Emergency this year. In April, two climate protestors smeared black and red paint on the pedestal. Also on the protective case of Edgar Degas’s sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. In May, the two protestors were charged by the US Attorney’s Office with “conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States”, and injury to an exhibit or property at the museum.