Voluntary Sector: Taking action ... Arts Against Cuts, UK Uncut, Space Hijacker vs UK Government

Protesters: Arts Against Cuts, UK Uncut and Space Hijackers
Target: UK Government
Location: Sotheby's, London
Date: 15 February


Costumed protesters hijacked an auction at Sotheby's in London to protest against cuts to public services. They started their protest with the sound of moaning as Andy Warhol's Nine Multicolored Marilyns was unveiled, while others invaded press seats. Protesters also threw fake £50 notes in the air before holding up a banner saying 'orgy of the rich'.

- Why the protests?

The protesters said they targeted the auction house's contemporary art auction because of the high prices commanded for contemporary art while cuts are being made to public services. The Warhol piece was sold for £3.2m, while Gerhard Richter's Abstraktes Bild went for £7.2m. A protester said: 'It is obscene that the money spent at this auction could be the difference between having some form of local services that exist in the community and not.'

- What was the response?

No response was given by the Government. Belgian collector Mark Vanmoerkerke said: 'It's fun to see people stand up for what they believe in. An orgy of the rich? They're not exactly wrong.'

Media treatment

The Evening Standard covered the story with the headline 'Protesters' 15 minutes of fame at Warhol auction'. Other media coverage included Bloomberg, New York Times and The Guardian.

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