You know the economy is bad when the art director of a museum decides to torch its contents for the sake of making a point.
The incident takes place in Italy which has began implementing austerity measures in order to settle its massive national debt. And the biggest hit so far is the one affecting the arts community; arts spending is now only three-tenths of one percent of the GDP, which is a tenth of what folks in France, England, and Germany spend.
Antonio Manfredi who serves as director of the Casoria Contemporary Art
Museum reportedly set fire to pieces of his museum's collection to
protest Italy's drastic budget cuts to the arts. Manfredi began by burning his own pieces but has since moved on to burning other artists' works (with permission of course.)
The artist tells the NPR that he plans on burning two or three pieces a week from the museum's 1,000-piece collection:
When I burn one artwork I feel very, very bad. Because each one piece in this museum is one part of my life, is one part of the life of the artist. But when the revolution is possible only with the burning action, we destroy some art to save all art.
While the Italian government has yet to respond, it seems other artists from around the world are also joining in on the cause. This clip below shows a similar protest taking place at the AirSpace Gallery Studios in the U.K.