Austrian museum skews paintings to reflect climate change

March 21, 2023 GMT

VIENNA (AP) — A Vienna museum is hanging some of its paintings at an angle to reflect the possible effects of climate change on the landscapes they depict.

The Austrian capital’s Leopold Museum said Tuesday that 15 paintings will be slightly skewed until June 26 as part of the action titled “A Few Degrees More (Will Turn the World into an Uncomfortable Place).” They include works by Gustave Courbet, Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt.

The museum is turning the paintings by the number of degrees by which temperatures at the locations they depict — such as the coast of Normandy and Austria’s Attersee region — could rise if far-reaching action isn’t taken against climate change.

It worked with a Vienna-based climate research network, Climate Change Center Austria. Museum director Hans-Peter Wipplinger said in a statement that museums “preserve and impart cultural heritage to the next generations” and “have the potential to positively influence our future action by making people aware of social phenomena.”

He added that the museum is showing solidarity with “the efforts of the climate movement.”

In November, members of the Last Generation Austria group threw a black, oily liquid at Klimt’s 1915 painting “Death and Life” in the Leopold Museum, and one protester glued himself to glass protecting the painting’s frame. The artwork wasn’t damaged.

Wipplinger said at the time that the activists’ concerns were justified but attacking artworks was the wrong way of trying to achieve their aims. He appealed to them to find other ways to make their concerns known.