Art cars are under threat from climate activists.
After the famous Andy Warhol BMW M1 art car was vandalized by climate activists recently, the Italian Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano put out a statement saying that the government will spend an exorbitant amount of money to take immediate countermeasures. To do so, Italy will dig into its coffers, which means the upgrades will effectively be paid for by the citizens.
In a letter to the Italian publication ADN Kronos, Sangiuliano made his views quite clear. "Considering the huge heritage to be protected, consequently, the intervention will represent a considerable cost for the coffers of the ministry and of the entire nation and which, unfortunately, can only foresee an increase in the cost of the entrance ticket," said Sangiuliano. "Once again, the outrage of a few violent people risks falling on the Italians and, in particular, on those who want to go and see a good exhibition."
In case you missed it, a small group of climate activists has moved beyond peaceful protests and into the realm of straight-up vandalism. These climate activists have adopted the controversial method of defacing artworks to draw attention to their cause, leading to mass criticism and outrage.
A group known as Extinction Rebellion poured black paint over several classic Ferraris at the recent Paris Motor Show. That same week, another group called Scientist Rebellion glued themselves to the floor of the Porsche exhibition center at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany. At least they had good taste and chose to congregate around a new Porsche 911 GT3 Touring.
The latest attempt to get some attention was the Warhol incident, which took place in Milan, Italy. As you can imagine, Italy has several high-profile automotive museums dedicated to famous brands. The biggest and grandest is the Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile in Turin. At any given time, it hosts several priceless vehicles.
It's unclear how much damage was done in the Andy Warhol incident. The protestors managed to pour at least four one-pound bags of flour on the car. Only one security guard was present, and he obviously struggled to contain the incident.
Fortunately, the activists were not that clued up on BMW history and poured most of the flour on the front of the car, probably not knowing that the engine was actually at the other end.
One can understand Italy's aggressive response, as a series of non-car-related incidents have also occurred. Ultima Generazione, the same group responsible for defacing the art car, also threw soup over a Van Gogh work in Rome and targeted a Gustav Klimt piece in Vienna, Austria.
Given Italy's close ties to priceless art pieces, including several art cars, we expect to see these new security updates sooner rather than later.
This new kind of activism has yet to cross the pond to American automotive museums.