A museum in Italy has started burning its artworks in protest at budget cuts, which it says have left cultural institutions out of pocket.
Antonio Manfredi, of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, set fire to the first painting on Tuesday.” Our 1,000 artworks are headed for destruction anyway because of the government’s indifference,” he said.
The work was by French artist Severine Bourguignon, who was in favor of the protest and watched it online.
Manfredi plans to burn three paintings a week from now on, in a protest he has dubbed “Art War.”
Artists from across Europe have lent their support, including Welsh sculptor John Brown, who torched one of his works, Manifesto, on Monday.
Italy’s debt crisis led to the resignation of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi last year. Since his departure, the government has passed a tough package of austerity measures and other reforms.
Art institutions say they have been particularly affected by the country’s economic woes, with state subsidies and charitable donations drying up.