Most of the shops in Oslo are closed on Sundays, as are most of the restaurants; at around 13.30 I hopped on a subway to a suburb that I plucked out of thinnish air (OK, so I looked up different stations on the line I was on on Wikipedia). I got off the train to find that everything within walking distance save a gas station and a newsstand was stengt. Alas. So I took a ride back into the city—and let me tell you, this Metro line had some breathtaking views, particularly when the clouds were lying particularly low—and got off to visit the Munch Museum on a whim. Thankfully it was open. This painting, Løsrivelse (Separation), was probably my favorite of the whole place—I visited three exhibitions, including one themed around snow and another themed around frottage (the rubbing against woodblocks kind, you perv!), missing the film part because of the way I led myself around the museum.
Løsrivelse was from the exhibit devoted to his Frieze of Life series about love, death, anxiety—you know, your usual artist-borne emotions. The Scream was indeed among those paintings, and seeing it as its own non-referenced-by-something-else-years-later thing yet in the context of his other work was instructive; there are other paintings on a bridge similar to the one depicted in that work, although they all have other people on it, and not ghostly depictions of dark emotions.
(One thing that I noticed, and I don’t know if this is me projecting or what, was that I saw more faces in inanimate objects—weather patterns, the brushstrokes he used to create a skyscape—than in most of the people he depicted. I don’t know a lot about art, so maybe this has been covered already? If it has I’d love to read more about it.)
I also tried to go to the Museum of Natural History, but the paths between it and the Munch Museum were icy and I’d worn cowboy boots and not the snow boots I bought specifically for this trip (sigh, I know), so I waved the white flag. On the walk back to the hotel I walked through an area with an extremely high concentration of barber shops and stopped in a tiny storefront gallery with some fantastic pictures of Tom Waits and a guy singing into a firecracker stuck up another guy’s butt. It’s kind of too bad that I won’t be back for the Norwegian metal exhibit.