The opening of Megalith on Friday 8 April, 2022 was supposed to be a celebratory event. However, even as artist Marit Westerhuis’ new solo show addresses the disturbing realities of the ecological crisis, the Groninger Museum continues to feast on the fossil fuel funding of GasTerra and Gasunie. Seeking to expose the museum’s hypocritical stance, Westerhuis invited Fossil Free Culture NL (FFCNL) to perform a grieving ritual during the opening speech in which she addressed the museum board.
With this collaboration, Westerhuis joins FFCNL in urging the Groninger Museum to stop masking the destructive impacts of Gasunie and GasTerra on the Groninger land, and of the fossil fuel industry on the planet at large. Together we call on the museum to cut all ties with this industry, as a bare minimum, in response to the climate crisis at hand.
We should no longer dance to their fairytale tunes of infinite progress and growth, or be seduced by glittering future promises of yet another technofix. And yet, dressed in the Groninger Museum’s colorful façade, GasTerra and Gasunie continue to sell this myth of progress, to justify and rationalize a need for their disastrous industry. The idea that improving the human condition is dependent on fossil fueled growth is a capitalist lie. The very opposite is increasingly self-evident. The real face of fossil fuel dependence is not endless possibility, but the end of possibilities.
By accepting sponsorship from gas companies, the Groninger Museum presents the industry with an artful mask to disguise their monstrous features. Meanwhile, the rooms of the museum are haunted by Westerhuis’s post-apocalyptic landscapes, whose mirror images can already be found in many places on earth. How can we even think of crafting solutions to the biggest crisis of our lifetime, when the enemy is in the room, holding sway over our tools, ideas, and the space we need to envision other ways of knowing and being in the world?
It is time for the Groninger Museum to acknowledge that the climate crisis is real, and that there is no ethical way to uphold the fossil fuel industry’s social license. Their two-faced position is untenable. FFCNL’s grieving ritual ushers the museum into a rite of passage, to end their denial and rejection of responsibility. We urge the museum to finally face reality, and to squarely address their complicity in artwashing the fossil fuel industry.
#artagainstfossilfuels #fossilfreegroningen #breakupwithgas