For years now groups have been campaigning against this, demanding that these museums stop laundering these companies' reputations and profiting from the damage fossil fuels are creating. In response to these campaigns, museums in London and Amsterdam are finally withdrawing. That alone is a victory for people in the arts sector who want to make a difference in the climate.
Joanie Lemercier was initially shocked when he saw the images, and like most of the public didn't really understand why they targeted this painting. It took him a few days to make up his mind, and only after doing some research. Firstly, it became clear that the protestors had visited the museum before and selected the painting because it was protected by the glass: they knew their protest wouldn't damage the iconic piece.
Why target art at all? Because even more so than the crypto art world, fine art is a vehicle for financial speculation and a plaything of many of these oil executives. The most expensive painting ever sold is Salvator Mundi
, currently owned by Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and leader of oil titan Saudi Aramco, the world's single greatest emitter of Co2.
In contrast, Joanie singles out the Tezos ecosystem as a reasonably fair and healthy way of monetizing artwork, which artists have to think about to sustain their practice. Since on-chain artwork runs on the same financial and computational "rails" as all other on-chain currency and software, it's easy to think of ways art could be integrated into practical climate activism.
Movements like Regenerative Finance (ReFi) and DAOs focused on conservation can link secondary sales of work to local projects in perpetuity. And as we saw with the use of NFTs to financially support Ukraine
, on-chain art opens up a new avenue for artists and curators to raise awareness of and financially support the causes that matter to them, in whatever way they can.