In Italy on Monday, artist and museum curator Antonio Manfredi burned a painting as the artist watched via Skype. Manfredi has stated that he intends to burn three paintings a week in protest of the harsh cuts the austerity measures have imposed on cultural funding.
In February Manfredi had sent a dossier containing photographs of the over one thousand paintings in the museum’s collection to Lorenzo Ornaghi, the Director of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The following is a text of an e-mail sent to Ornaghi:
“At 6 PM in front of the entrance of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum (CAM), the work of Séverine Bourguignon was consumed by fire. The canvas was burned by the director, Antonio Manfredi, who waited all day for a signal from the institution’s staff. Filled with anger and emotion when the signal did not arrive, Manfredi, the staff of the museum, and the artist herself (via Skype), gathered to sacrifice a work of art from CAM’s permanent collection. The French artist has confirmed the decision to destroy her work, a decision which she called “political,” necessary, and compelling in the face of these adverse circumstances. Tomorrow, again at 6 pm, Neapolitan artist Rosaria Matarese will set fire to one of her works. CAM, meanwhile, is waiting for someone to intervene.”
I hope the government of Italy cares more about art than ours does.
Be seeing you.