Artists Rally for People’s Climate March

Shepard Fairey's poster for the People's Climate March.
Courtesy the artist.

Ahead of Sunday’s landmark environmentalist demonstration, the People’s Climate March (September 21, 11:30 a.m. at Columbus Circle), artists are coming out in support of the event, and calling on museums to stop accepting donations from groups and individuals who are on the record as climate change deniers.

Street artist and printmaker Shepard Fairey designed a poster for the march, featuring the image of the Statue of Liberty up to its waist in water accompanied with the text “To change everything we need everyone,” which is for sale on his website for $55 in a signed and limited edition of 300, with all proceeds going to the People’s Climate March organizers. You can also download it for free here.

“It’s a good thing the streets of New York will be flooded soon—with hundreds of thousands of people demanding solutions to our out-of-control climate crisis,” Fairey writes on his site. “It’s both an honor and a calling of my conscience for me to contribute a poster to the People’s Climate March effort and get something urgent across about one of the biggest threats facing present and future generations. Lady Liberty and all of us are in trouble if we don’t push our leaders to take bold action.”

Meanwhile, an art collective that goes by Not An Alternative is urging museums devoted to natural history to turn down funding from climate change deniers, the Art Newspaper’s Rachel Corbett reports. The group is set to release a letter next month that many leading climate scientists have signed urging museums to drop climate change deniers as donors.

“When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge,” the letter reads. “This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost.”

One target of the campaign is billionaire David Koch, whose sponsorship of the Metropolitan Museum’s new plaza recently drew protests (see “NYPD Detains Activists for Anti-Koch Light Graffiti at the Met“), and who is also a board member at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

“It is one thing for David Koch to give money to Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, but it is quite another to support a science/natural history museum or a university that has a role to play in doing research on, and helping educate the public about, climate change, the greatest threat ever to confront humanity,” pyschiatrist Eric Chivian, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and signee of the Not An Alternative letter, told TAN. “The philanthropy serves to silence any criticism of the practices of the donor, and even, as a respected professor at MIT has noted, any critical discussion of the issue.”

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