A crude awakening for modern art world

Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

The demonstration entitled Crude Truth by Extinction Rebellion at the National Portrait Gallery should be recognised as an art work of considerable significance and beauty in itself (Fake oil spilled in art gallery protest over BP sponsorship, 21 October).

It is in fact a group portrait of three semi-nude demonstrators which brings together issues of the vulnerability of flesh with the socio-political significance of oil and its corrosive influence in our world, in the best tradition of the event art and happenings of the 1960s. It is the Three Graces of our time.

If it sincerely wishes to engage with the pulse of the modern world, the National Portrait Gallery should, I suggest, organise a display of the many photographic records and videos of the event and invite the public to come and see it, to begin a dialogue about the role and purpose of portraiture and its place in modern society.

My only regret is that I visited the exhibition at another time. Crude Truth would have been superior in every way to the incompetent daubs hanging on the walls.
Dr Clive Ashwin
Aylsham, Norfolk

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