Over in Oslo, Norway, debate is raging about what to do with some brutalist architecture damaged by a car bomb during Anders Behring Breivik’s terrorist attack of July 11. The conventional wisdom says to tear the buildings down to make way for something new, but there’s a catch: the current structures are homes to murals by Pablo Picasso—his first works executed in concrete, no less. What is the educated world to think!
Even the proposed compromise, which would involve “disassembling” Picasso’s works and putting them back together somewhere else, brick by brick, has come under fire, since the artist created them in accordance with their current location. Art history nerds know that context is king—would you put the Mona Lisa somewhere other than a cramped room of The Louvre where the collective body odor was enough to make you pass out? Don’t be ridiculous.
What’s lost in the discussion about preserving pivotal art from one of the 20th century’s masters, however, is the building itself. Europe is all about demolishing these big, boxy, menacing, state-funded constructions that popped up fifty years ago—enough, I say. Just because you think it looks ugly now doesn’t mean people in the distant future won’t appreciate it. When the Parthenon started to show a little wear and tear, did the Greeks raze it to the ground? Architects are artists too, you know.
Image via Art World Daily