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Antonio Manfredi burning art at the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum
Antonio Manfredi burning art at the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum

ITALIAN MUSEUM BURNS ART

Apr. 17, 2012

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The director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in Naples says he is waging an “Art War” and plans to burn 1,000 art works to protest Italy’s budget cuts in the arts. So far, museum head Antonio Manfredi has lit up a painting by Severine Bourguignon and plans to continue at a rate of three burnings a week. He says he’s only destroying works by artists who give him permission to do so. (Bourguignon apparently gave his blessing and watched the event online.)

Ever since Prime Minister Mario Monti replaced Silvio Berlusconi in 2011, the Italian art scene has faced tough new austerity measures. The MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome had its government funding slashed by 43 percent last year, according to the BBC, and the Ministry of Culture’s board dissolved last week when it failed to agree on a budget proposal. "Our 1,000 artworks are headed for destruction anyway because of the government's indifference," Manfredi told the BBC.

Other artists have joined the fight as well. Local sculptor Rosaria Matarese hauled a wooden work over to the museum to burn in person, and Welsh artist John Brown, who has shown at the Casoria in the past, taped a video of himself torching a paper sculpture in support of Manfredi’s actions.

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