Nov. 13 (UPI) — Undercover police in plainclothes are now providing security to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain, in response to recent protests from climate change activists targeting museums.

Manuel Borja-Villel, the museum’s director, told Europa Press that the “temporary” measures have been put in place as the museum particularly moves to protect Pablo Picasso‘s famous Guernica mural, which is not safeguarded by glass.

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Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 with oil on canvas in response the bombing of a town by the same name by Nazi forces as World War II spread through Europe. The Cubist-Surrealist painting has been considered by art critics as one of the most powerful pieces of anti-war art in history.

“Surveillance is circumstantial and depends on each time there is a different element, from more visitors to other issues,” Borja-Villel told Europa Press.

RELATED Antiquities tied to Subhash Kapoor, worth $3.4M, returned to Pakistan

The use of undercover police officers was confirmed by museum officials to Hyperallergic, adding that the Reina Sofia has not experienced such attacks faced by other museums in recent months.

“Increasing policing and surveillance undoubtedly poses a barrier to access and inclusion in museums, particularly for marginalized visitors who may already feel unwelcome in these spaces,” Camille-Mary Sharp, a faculty fellow in the museum studies department at New York University, told Hyperallergic.

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“Undercover police especially feels unwarranted.”

RELATED Late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s art collection sold for record $1.5 billion

Earlier this month, two climate change activists who targeted the iconic Girl With A Pearl Earring painting by Johannes Vermeer were sentenced to two months in prison by a Dutch court.

A viral video shared online showed two activists with the group Just Stop Oil Belgium gluing themselves to the artwork as one poured a can of tomato soup on the other’s head. A third activist filmed the stunt.

The oil painting, among the most recognizable in the world, was made by Vermeer in 1665 amid the Dutch Golden Age in the broader Baroque era and features a girl looking over her left shoulder with a large pearl earring in yellow and blue hues.

RELATED Highly anticipated Benin Bronzes database launches, shaping future of art restitution

Unlike Guernica, it is protected by glass at the Hague’s Mauritshuis Museum.

Last month, the Natural History Museum in Berlin said criminal charges have been filed against two climate activists who glued themselves to a dinosaur display.

On Oct. 14, two Just Stop Oil activists splashed cans of tomato soup of Van Gogh‘s 1888 “Sunflowers” painting at London’s National Gallery.

Two other climate activists with Just Stop Oil glued themselves to the base of a famous sculpture at Vatican Museums in August.

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Nov. 13 (UPI) — Undercover police in plainclothes are now providing security to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid, Spain, in response to recent protests from climate change activists targeting museums.
Manuel Borja-Villel, the museum’s director, told Europa Press that the “temporary” measures have been put in place as the museum particularly moves to protect Pablo Picasso‘s famous Guernica mural, which is not safeguarded by glass.

Advertisement

Picasso painted Guernica in 1937 with oil on canvas in response the bombing of a town by the same name by Nazi forces as World War II spread through Europe. The Cubist-Surrealist painting has been considered by art critics as one of the most powerful pieces of anti-war art in history.
“Surveillance is circumstantial and depends on each time there is a different element, from more visitors to other issues,” Borja-Villel told Europa Press.

RELATED Antiquities tied to Subhash Kapoor, worth $3.4M, returned to Pakistan

The use of undercover police officers was confirmed by museum officials to Hyperallergic, adding that the Reina Sofia has not experienced such attacks faced by other museums in recent months.
“Increasing policing and surveillance undoubtedly poses a barrier to access and inclusion in museums, particularly for marginalized visitors who may already feel unwelcome in these spaces,” Camille-Mary Sharp, a faculty fellow in the museum studies department at New York University, told Hyperallergic.

Advertisement

“Undercover police especially feels unwarranted.”

RELATED Late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s art collection sold for record $1.5 billion

Earlier this month, two climate change activists who targeted the iconic Girl With A Pearl Earring painting by Johannes Vermeer were sentenced to two months in prison by a Dutch court.
A viral video shared online showed two activists with the group Just Stop Oil Belgium gluing themselves to the artwork as one poured a can of tomato soup on the other’s head. A third activist filmed the stunt.
The oil painting, among the most recognizable in the world, was made by Vermeer in 1665 amid the Dutch Golden Age in the broader Baroque era and features a girl looking over her left shoulder with a large pearl earring in yellow and blue hues.

RELATED Highly anticipated Benin Bronzes database launches, shaping future of art restitution

Unlike Guernica, it is protected by glass at the Hague’s Mauritshuis Museum.
Last month, the Natural History Museum in Berlin said criminal charges have been filed against two climate activists who glued themselves to a dinosaur display.
On Oct. 14, two Just Stop Oil activists splashed cans of tomato soup of Van Gogh‘s 1888 “Sunflowers” painting at London’s National Gallery.
Two other climate activists with Just Stop Oil glued themselves to the base of a famous sculpture at Vatican Museums in August.

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