Italian Museum Director Burns Art in Protest of Lack of Funding

Posted on May 7, 2012


Antonio Manfredi, director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, is pledging to burn three pieces of art each week in protest against the lack of monetary support for Italy’s museums and culture. He has already destroyed two paintings and is selecting more from the museum’s collection of 1,000 works.

The museum is located in an area of Naples which is strongly influenced by the Camorra mafia, which has been buying out businesses in the area. The museum receives no public funding– only private funding but with the recession in Italy those funds are now gone.  Manfredi told Reuters, “I don’t know who to turn to anymore for money, and I refuse to ask the Camorra.” He says the only thing that is worse than the lack of funding is the politicians’ lack of interest in the worsening condition of Italy’s cultural wealth while the mafia’s influence only grows.

Although the plight of museums is nationwide, not everyone agrees with actions Manfredi has taken. Achille Bonito Oliva, one of Italy’s most prominent contemporary art critics, stated, “Burning art is adolescent exhibitionism. It’s a Neapolitan parody, where one man is taking advantage of the severe crisis for visibility.” These two men do agree on one thing—that public funding could be cut from political parties and instead channeled into museums.

Read the full article Italy museum burns art to protest against crisis at the Guardian.

Thanks to Kristina Bauer for contributing this post.