CCAM director Antonio Manfredi watching the fire consume a painting during yesterday’s inaugural episode of the “Art War.” (via BBC)

Various news services are reporting that a museum in Italy is waging an “art war” in protest of funding cuts and they’ve started burning 1,000 artworks. Antonio Manfredi, of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in Naples, set fire to the first painting yesterday, Tuesday, April 17. He plans to burn three paintings a week. All the works are being burned with the permission of the artists, many of who have donated the works specifically for the purpose.

Italian institutions, according to BBC, are particularly vulnerable and the Maxxi Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome said its funding had been cut by 43% in 2011.

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

7 replies on “Museum Plans to Burn 1,000 Art Works to Protest Cuts”

  1. Although I approve of this some-what radical form of protest, and I endorse its intent, I wonder if burning the art might be sending the wrong message…If art is so expendable that it can be burned on the whim of the museum Director, what does that say about its value/ does it really need funding? 

    1. For what it’s worth, I believe they’re asking for a re-evaluation of art, not determining its value.  “Slitting the wrist” doesn’t always signify a suicide attempt.  I think this burning is an incredibly painful but an ultimately beautiful concept, and the value of art will be determined by the reaction this causes…

  2. Because this method is going so, so well for Tibetan monks…. 

    I think this will turn out disappointingly for the Casoria, and they will be the ones left holding the matches, not those cutting their funding. And if they don’t care about the well-being of the artworks, there are better statements to make that can result in their destruction (leaving them in the street, for example, to show what happens to art that loses its stewardship). Plus, more people could potentially view what they are supposed to be missing, and witness a gradual destruction, which is a much more powerful statement than immediate destruction. Adopt the pace of social degradation to demonstrate it and comment on it.

    1.  It doesn’t seem at all appropriate to compare the protest act of self-immolation with the protest act of burning of art.

      I do agree that this art-burning tactic might not be successful in terms of restoring art funding, but it does seem to be garnering attention. Perhaps some of those who are moved by this demonstration will choose to offer monetary assistance to the Casoria. If not, then it becomes a work of performance art in-and-of-itself.

  3. Don’t forget most of the work was made with the intent of burning it —- it’s totally silly and meaningless in fact.  What about showing the world what it would be like without art completely??? Close the museums 43% of the time, to be proportionate with the cut.  Do people care?  if not, then maybe we need to rethink the importance of these institutions as public entities.  The reality is that they pretend to be public but more often than not, they remain in the realm of the private….

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