Protesters throw mashed potato over a Monet painting. / SUR

Souping a Picasso

TXEMA MARTÍN

Fear goes viral. So does hooliganism. The art world has found that paintings have become the latest target for the ecologists' protests.

Before they have often been characterised as making original demonstrations, like those of Greenpeace, but who have, in their latest displays of vindication, made themselves look more ridiculous than anything else. I don't think anyone with a modicum of artistic sensibility has not felt a spasm when contemplating the desolate image of tomato soup dripping down Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London. Before that, in May, it was the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris.

Last week it was the turn of a piece from the series The Haystacks by the impressionist artist Claude Monet, which was given a helping of mashed potatoes in a German museum. The choice of menu and its artistic or ideological significance escapes me.

There have been more cases, and in some of them activists have glued their hands to the wall in order to delay and complicate their eviction, or even attached themselves to the frames of the paintings. In general, this is a publicity stunt based on artistic desecration that is pointless since the art works have been covered by glass on every occasion.

This glass which protects the works, attracts these protests as those responsible can be safe in the knowledge that they aren't going to have to pay for the high cost of restoration and the achievement of an even greater crime, in addition to their moral savagery.

However just and necessary the cause may be, however much we may debate the role of museums in today's society, this fad that is not going to save the planet could be responsible for increased security in museums and will make visiting museums a more uncomfortable experience.

Surprisingly, it is said that behind these movements there are large investment funds and donations in cryptocurrencies.

Next year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Pablo Ruiz Picasso's death, and that is not without controversy either. His problematic and abusive relationships with women cannot be ignored, but neither can we proceed to an artistic undervaluation based on conjecture and from the prism of a society that is very different from that of the last century. To cancel Picasso because of this anachronism would be an enormous folly, but let us not be surprised if a work by the genius of Malaga soon gets a helping of gazpacho to promote world peace.