Italian Museum Director Burns Art to Protest Government Funding Cuts… and the Mafia?

04.19.12 Marina Galperina

Antonio Manfredi, the director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in Naples, is burning three paintings a week from a collection of 1,000 to protest the Italian government’s art funding cuts. His museum is privately funded, and since the recession, barely.

“I don’t know who to turn to anymore for money,” Manfredi says. “And I refuse to ask the Camorra.” The Camorra mafia is tightening its grip on the region by buying up struggling businesses and are suspected of stealing the museum’s security cameras and placing burning efigies on its fence. Asking them for money isn’t likely to end well.

As the Italian government scrambles to tame the country’s $2.5 trillion debt, severe austerity measures are strangling public museums, slashing art funding and letting institutions like these wither without help. Manfredi calls his protest Art War. (Photo: El Comercio)