Climate activists Tim Martin and Joanna Smith during their action the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. (photo courtesy Declare Emergency via Twitter )

Just when you thought they were gone, climate activists are back, this time targeting an Edgar Degas sculpture at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

It happened around 11am this morning, April 27, when two activists dressed in black suits smeared the plexiglass case and wooden pedestal of Degas’s wax sculpture “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” (1878–1881) with blood-red and petrol-black paint.

The two activists — Joanna Smith from Brooklyn, New York, and Tim Martin from Raleigh, North Carolina — belong to the climate group Declare Emergency.

“We need our leaders to take serious action, to tell us the truth about what’s happening with the climate,” said Smith while holding her fake-blood-drenched hands up in the air.

Martin, who scribbled a black heart shape on the sculpture’s pedestal, called on the US government to do its job of “looking out for the health and safety of our children.”

A video posted on Twitter by the Washington Post shows police officers handcuffing the two activists.

Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art, posted a video response on Twitter, saying the sculpture has been removed from view for damage assessment.

“We unequivocally denounce this behavior,” she said, looking visibly agitated.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...