Declare Emergency paints up Degas "Little Dancer" sculpture

Video by Ford Fischer 5 min

At around 11AM on April 27, Declare Emergency entered the National Gallery of Art. Inside, they both handprinted and poured mock blood and oil onto the clear plastic casing around Edgar Degas' "little dancer of 14 years" statue. They then sat down and waited for arrest. This is in the footsteps of UK based "just stop oil" which has also targeted artworks. In this case, no damage to the sculpture itself was possible or intended. Declare Emergency stated that "human expression is being destroyed by climate change."

Given the nature of both this sculpture and its creator however, it would have been entirely possible to justify complete destruction of this "artwork." It protrays a 14 year old ballarina in an era when this was an exploitiative art, with young girls often required to do sex work as a condition of advancing or even staying in the ballet. It also was originally exhibited with protrayals of people deemed "criminals," known as "little rat"-and done by an artist who equated criminals and nonwhite people, believing both were lower forms of human evolution with considerable physical differences.

Still from video by Ford Fischer

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