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Italian Museum Burns Artwork In Protest At Government Cuts

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ARTBURN
Antonio Manfredi's 'Art War' claims its first painting | Casoria Contemporary Art Museum

An Italian museum has started burning its artworks in protest at government budget cuts.

Antonio Manfredi, of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in Naples, took the first painting outside on Tuesday and set it ablaze.

And he insists they will go at a rate of three a week in response to severe austerity measures that have resulted in a dramatic decrease in state subsidies and charitable donations directed towards art institutions.

Speaking to the BBC, Manfredi said: "Our 1,000 artworks are headed for destruction anyway because of the government's indifference."

Manfredi has dubbed it the ‘Art War’.


Reduced to ashes: a painting from the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum

First to go was a painting by French artist Severine Bourguignon, who followed the protest on Skype and wrote to the museum to express solidarity with their cause.

Other artists from around the world have publically declared their support for the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, including Welsh sculptor John Brown who torched his own piece on Monday.

It’s not the first time Manfredi has attracted controversy – last year he wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel asking for asylum, again in protest against the Italian government and what he perceived as their failure to protect culture and arts. He letter went unanswered.

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Protests by museums and art institutions against cuts to funding have occurred throughout Europe since the response to the eurozone crisis began, including in the UK.

So far however protests in this country have taken a slightly less radical form. In February, staff at the National Gallery in London went on a round of strikes in a row over job cuts.

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