Environmental activists on Friday dumped orange paint over an outdoor sculpture by the American artist Charles Ray in central Paris, the latest in a string of artwork defacements aimed at spurring greater government efforts to fight climate change.
The lifesize “Horse and Rider” stands in front of the Bourse de Commerce contemporary art museum, which houses part of the collection of French fashion billionaire Francois Pinault.
The action was claimed by Derniere Renovation (“Last Renewal”), which showed two activists kneeling and holding hands in front of the doused sculpture on its website.
« Quel autre choix avons-nous ? Nos vies se dérobent sous nos yeux. Des promesses ne nous sauveront pas.
Si mon acte vous choque, c’est bien que vous êtes des gens sensibles et humains. Que vous tenez à des choses dans ce monde.  pic.twitter.com/7sqQeM0wVR
— Dernière Rénovation (@derniere_renov) November 18, 2022
They had also put a white T-shirt over the rider with the phrase “We have 858 days left,” apparently a reference to studies that say carbon emissions must peak by 2025 if the planet is to have a viable future.
“Eco-vandalism is taken up a notch,” Culture Minister Rima Abdel Malak, who visited the site as workers cleaned up the paint, wrote on Twitter.
“Art and ecology are not incompatible. It’s the opposite, they are common causes,” she said.
The incident came as climate activists targeted an Andy Warhol work in Milan on Friday, covering a car repainted by the American pop artist with flour — two weeks after the same group threw pea soup at a Van Gogh painting in Rome.
Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in The Hague and Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” in London have also been targeted, drawing widespread condemnation from officials.