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Catalan museums join campaign to save Picasso murals in Oslo

Y-block building murals are precursor to iconic facade of College of Architects of Catalonia headquarters


18 May 2020 02:54 PM


ACN | Barcelona

Five leading Barcelona museums have signed up to a manifesto put forward by the College of Architects of Catalonia (COAC) to preserve a building in Oslo that features murals by Pablo Picasso and Carl Nesjar on its facade.

The Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), the Miró Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA), the Museum of the History of Catalonia and the Picasso Museum added their voices to the ongoing campaign to save the Y-block building in the Norwegian capital from demolition.

Picasso and his frequent collaborator Nesjar completed the murals in 1957, five years before their iconic work on the facade of the College of Architects opposite Barcelona Cathedral. 

The COAC manifesto argues that the Norwegian work is "essential" to understand the history of their own headquarters, and highlights the importance of maintaining the murals in the building where they were conceived.

The Norwegian government have begun preparations to demolish the building, which suffered some damage in a terrorist attack in 2011. The Y-Block is part of a government complex in Oslo, built between 1957 and 1969, and home to several murals by the Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar, made from drawings by Pablo Picasso. 

Protests and petitions

Catalan museums are not the only ones campaigning to preserve the building. Last week the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) sent a letter to the Norwegian Prime Minister to "reconsider the approved decision for the demolition.”

Protests in Oslo have stepped up since the building was closed at the start of May, alongside reports of one of murals being damaged due to drilling at the site.

A petition to save the Y-block, and which cites the special relationship between the building and the COAC headquarters, has garnered almost 50,000 signatures.



  • Protesters outside the Y-block building in Oslo (by Støtteaksjon for å bevare Y-blokka/Facebook)

  • Protesters outside the Y-block building in Oslo (by Støtteaksjon for å bevare Y-blokka/Facebook)