Munch Museum drops nude motifs on display in Saudi Arabia

Edvard MunchOsloTwo people study the painting "Skrik".Photo : Terje Bendiksby / NTB scanpix

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The Munch Museum choses to drop nude motifs and removed “kisses” from a photo title in order not to provoke the audience at an exhibition in Saudi Arabia. Munch’s heir and descendent reacted negatively to the museum’s decision.

On June 5, a large Munch exhibition opens at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in the Saudi Arabian Desert reported Dagens Næringsliv newspaper.

‘’When we see that something may be offensive to the public, we consider how we relate to it, and possibly make changes’’ said museum director, Stein Olav Henrichsen.

50 works by the artist Edvard Munch are to be exhibited. Among them is the oil painting, “Kiss on the beach in moonlight” from 1914. However, the title the Saudi museum visitors will see is “On the beach”. Also motifs that show naked people are avoided for display at the exhibition.

Henrichsen pointed out that Munch seldom gave his works any names. At the same time, he asked which countries the museum can cooperate with if they must have “exactly the same values as us”. Elisabeth Munch-Ellingsen, great-granddaughter of Munch’s brother, does not buy those reasons.

‘’Is it possible? This must be an artistic assessment that the Munch Museum must take, but must we lay the groundwork to accommodate another culture’s limitations?’’ she asked.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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