The two protestors who took part in a “dangerous and unpleasant” hoax to raise awareness about climate change and put a valuable Picasso painting at risk have spoken out about the unusual incident, with one of them saying they would “definitely” do it again.
Tony Gleeson, a 59-year-old retired teacher and grandfather of five who is now a member of Extinction Rebellion Australia (ERA), superglued his hands to the frame of Picasso’s painting Massacre in Korea at the National Gallery of Victoria on Sunday.
The artwork was most recently sold in 2015 for $US179 million ($A280 million).
On Monday, Mr. Gleeson said he had no regrets about what he had done and that he would cheerfully conduct another prank.
He admitted to Melbourne radio personality Neil Mitchell that the choice had not been made lightly.
There were more than two of us involved, and everything was well organized.
Considering the high level of security present, we made extensive and diligent preparations for this.
We are experiencing a climatic and ecological emergency, therefore this is serious business.
On Monday, Catherine Strong, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, apologized for the “inconvenient” action.
People may think anything they want about how stupid we are, and who knows, maybe we are. We acknowledge that this is the kind of thing that inconveniences people, and we don’t enjoy treating people in this way. We feel horrible about it and are very sorry, Ms. Strong said on ABC Melbourne radio.
Mr. Gleeson said that he “expects” that he and other protestors would face criminal charges for the demonstration that endangered a valuable artwork, adding that all the intricate intricacies of their conspiracy will be “exposed in court.”
We take full responsibility for our actions. We’ll take whatever steps are necessary to achieve our goals without using violence, he said.
He continued by saying that throughout the demonstration, his group was aware that the artwork was in a protective frame.
Overall, according to Mr. Gleeson, the demonstration was a success and raised awareness of the ERA’s cause.
We had media coverage from all around the globe, so I suppose it must be seen as a success on all fronts,
Several folks have had issues as a result of what we did.
“You have to disturb people to be effective in this business, and yesterday there were some folks disrupted where we prefer not to do it but we believe the urgency of the issue means it’s essential,”
International curators may be reluctant to bring their works to Australia in the future as a result of the protest, which has put into doubt the security of the country’s art galleries.
When questioned about his awareness of the risk he posed to Australia’s art market, Mr. Gleeson advised curators to see their objection as an achievement in foresight and competence rather than a weakness in security.
A 49-year-old lady who had also taped her hand to the perspex glass was detained with Mr. Gleeson.
To get their hands off the artwork without destroying it, a professional was called in.
They each had a hand affixed to the glass as they stood either side of the 1951 artwork and in front of a placard that said, “Climate chaos Equals war + starvation.”
As Mr. Gleeson and the lady fastened themselves to the artwork and started screaming, a videographer livestreamed the event on Facebook.
The protest was the most recent in the group’s calendar of obstructive protests scheduled for its “Spring Rebellion ’22.”
There was no calendar advertisement for the dangerous rally on Sunday.
Extinction Rebellion is known for its noisy demonstrations, during which supporters have burned the Australian flag outside of a parliament building, wheeled a flaming koala prop around Melbourne, and hung in a hammock from the edge of the Brisbane Story Bridge.
The organization has scheduled demonstrations at logging sites, a march, a “disruptive” event in Melbourne’s central business district, and a blockage of the Yarra River over the following weeks.