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Climate Protests Targeting Art Damage Public Trust: U of G Art Historian – University of Guelph News

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A University of Guelph art historian sympathizes with climate protests vandalizing famous paintings like Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Monet’s Les Meules but views the acts as unconvincing performance art.  

Dr. Sally Hickson is an art history professor in the School of Fine Art and Music and the director of the School of English and Theatre Studies in the College of Arts. Her research interests include Renaissance visual and material culture and the history of art collections.  

Close-up of Dr. Sally Hickson
Dr. Sally Hickson

For Hickson, the protesters’ message is “that if we don’t have a planet, we won’t have any of the things in it that we value,” and that includes recognizable Old Master works.  

“I think the protesters want to ‘desecrate’ something that people immediately associate with value and with culture,” she explains. “The shock value of the act is attention-getting, but the connection to climate change is tenuous in the minds of most people without the accompanying explanation. I’m not convinced they’re going to change anything.” 

What the protesters will affect is public trust, she says. As she puts it, “they’re destabilizing the idea that public galleries are ‘safe’ spaces for works of art.” 

So far, the targeted paintings have been protected by glass and the protesters have used substances that have left the art relatively unharmed.  

If the protesters’ acts escalate and cause more harm to the works, Hickson predicts two things will happen.  

First, people will insist on arrests. There may also be increased security at galleries, although, ironically, “there’s nothing inherently criminal about carrying a container of tomato soup or mashed potatoes,” says Hickson. 

Second, the outrage might prove the protesters’ overall point.  

“People will be outraged by the damaging or destruction of something ‘priceless.’ But maybe that means we need to reconsider our values as a society, which is what the activists are asking us to do,” she says. 

Hickson recently discussed the climate protests with Fox News. She is available for interviews. 

Contact: 

Dr. Sally Hickson 
shickson@uoguelph.ca  

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Exclusive | Abraham Lincoln painting featured at Hamptons art fair victim of heist: ‘Lessons learned’ – Page Six

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Exclusive | Abraham Lincoln painting featured at Hamptons art fair victim of heist: ‘Lessons learned’  Page Six

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Advocates hope digital map makes Toronto art more accessible – CBC.ca

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Advocates hope digital map makes Toronto art more accessible  CBC.ca

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Home + Away artwork opens in Vancouver’s Hastings Park

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A new art installation now towers over Vancouver’s Hastings Park fields in celebration of the city’s history of spectators and sports.

Home + Away is a sculpture by Seattle artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio, which opened Monday in the southeast end of the historic park.

It’s a 17-metre-tall structure that resembles a narrow set of bleachers — similar to the stands of the Empire Stadium, which stood on the site of the park from 1954 to 1993 and hosted The Beatles, among many others. It recalls a covered ski jump that stood there in the 1950s and the nearby wooden rollercoaster at the PNE.

The city says the public is invited to walk the stairs and sit on the benches.

“In addition to being visually striking, this artwork is intended to be ascended, sat on and experienced. It offers exciting experiences of height and views and provides 16 rows of seating for up to 49 people, making for a unique spectator experience when watching events at Empire Fields,” the city said in a release Monday.

The idea for the park to include public art was outlined in the Hastings Park “Master Plan,” first adopted by the city in 2010. The city says Han and Mihalyo first presented their design in 2015.

“It’s wonderful to see this piece realized within the context of such a well-used public space,” said Han.

Home + Away was inspired directly by the site history of spectatorship, and we hope it will connect Hastings Park users to that history and the majestic views of the environment for many decades to come,” added Mihalyo.

The artwork features a large light-up sign, in the style of a sports scoreboard, that reads “HOME” and “AWAY.”

 

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