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The scandal behind coalitions

Enviornmental activist group named Just Stop Oil coalition attempts to bring attention from the British government to stop new fossil fuel licensing and production. Photo courtesy of Matt Hrkac/Flickr

Editor’s note: This is the third of a three-part series on the reasoning and the impact of climate change protests through attacks on art. 

The Just Stop Oil coalition has been continuously striking to bring attention from the British government to stop the new fossil fuel licensing and production. Strangely enough, after the coalition was founded Feb. 14, and the movement started getting attention from the media, they received fundings from none other than the heiress of Getty Oil. 

American oil heiress, Aileen Getty is granddaughter to J. Paul Getty, oil tycoon and founder of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. According to the Art Newspaper, Aileen Getty co-founded the non-profit Climate Emergency Fund and has donated $1 million dollars to Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.  

Having this new information, skepticism towards the movement has increased. The vandalism at art museums has been deeply criticized and has placed the coalition in a slimy situation, now that it is publicly known.  

Despite Getty Oil owning a museum in the United States, many of the institutions being targeted in Europe have ties to the oil industry. As a way of protecting the artwork and cutting ties with the industry, institutions such as the National Portrait Gallery would cease receiving funds from British Petroleum, according to the Art Newspaper.  

Funding provided by Getty comes directly from her foundation, the Aileen Getty Foundation; According to their website, “Supports organizations and individuals around the world committed to responding to the climate emergence and treating our planet and its inhabitants with kindness and respect.” 

More coalitions have been following the example of Just Stop Oil in the European Union, one of them being Letzte Generation, German for “Last Generation.” The protesters from this group threw oil over a Gustav Klimt painting Nov. 15 at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. 

The group tweeted on their profile, “new oil and gas wells are a death sentence for humanity.”  

One of the arguments made by art historian, Anne Perry, questioned the action plan of these coalitions and argued that direct attacks to collections purchased by robber barons would be more effective. The attack to Klimt’s “Death and Life” painting is an example of how they have started doing just that.  

The Leopold Museum in Vienna has been partnering with the Austrian oil, gas and petrochemical company Austrian Mineral Oil Administration Stock Company (OMV). The company has listed on their website several art institutions with whom they have been partners for many years.  

As the protests continue to happen around Europe, and donors continue to donate to amend their actions through financial gifts, the big incognita remains to hang on the mind of many spectators, “How will the arts solve the problem?” 

Maria L. Guerrero is the web and copy editor and may be reached at [email protected]; @bymariaguerrero on Twitter and Instagram. 

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About the Contributor
Maria L. Guerrero Duran
Maria L. Guerrero Duran, Web/Copy Editor
Maria L. Guerrero Duran is the web editor and copy editor for The Prospector. She is a senior, majoring in English and American literature with a minor in translation at the University of Texas at El Paso. She plans on joining the book publishing field and is interested in becoming an editor and a translator.
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The scandal behind coalitions