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Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Scream painting targeted by climate activists

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Two people have tried – and failed – to glue themselves to Edvard Munch’s 1893 masterpiece The Scream at an Oslo museum, Norwegian police said.

No harm was reported to the painting of a waif-like figure appearing to scream.

Police said officers were called to the National Museum of Norway on Friday and had three people under “control”.

A third person filmed the pair trying to affix to the painting, Norwegian news agency NTB said.

The room where the glass-protected painting is exhibited was “emptied of the public and closed” and will reopen as soon as possible, the museum said.

The rest of the venue remained open.

Police said there was glue residue on the glass mount.

A video of the incident showed museum guards holding two activists with one shouting “I scream for people dying” and another one shouts “I scream when lawmakers ignore science” while a person was shielding the painting from the protesters.

Environmental activists from the Norwegian organisation Stopp oljeletinga — Norwegian for Stop Oil Exploration — were behind the stunt, saying they “wanted to pressure lawmakers into stopping oil exploration”.

Norway is a major producer of offshore oil and gas.

“We are campaigning against Scream because it is perhaps Norway’s most famous painting,” activist spokeswoman Astrid Rem told the Associated Press.

“There have been lots of similar actions around Europe. They have managed something that no other action has managed: achieve an extremely large amount of coverage and press.”

It is the latest episode in which climate activists have targeted famous paintings in European museums.

Two Belgian activists who targeted Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl Earring in a Dutch museum in October were sentenced to two months in prison.

The painting was not damaged and returned to its wall a day later.

Earlier this month, climate protesters threw mashed potatoes at a Claude Monet painting in a German museum and a similar protest happened in London, where protesters threw soup over Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery.

In both those cases, the paintings also were not damaged.

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