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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Museum director lights a fire under movement

    To protest budget cuts, the director of the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum in Naples set a Séverine Bourguignon painting ablaze. Some may say this is too extreme, but it’s exactly what is needed to get political attention when it comes to shrinking funding for the arts.

    Antonio Manfredi, the director, watched the painting burn to a crisp with the artist standing at his side in solidarity. Manfredi reportedly called the protest an “Art War,” according to, and plans to burn three paintings a week until people start paying attention.

    Dramatic actions like this aren’t as common in the world as they should be. Demonstrations like Manfredi’s illustrate the arts community’s growing frustration, which stems from lack of funding. Imagine if budgets were cut severely to the museums that hold Michelangelo’s “David,” or the “Venus de Milo.” The preservation of the sculptures would be in serious jeopardy.

    These historic icons not only serve as an example of the tools and technology that artists used in those eras, but also the ideas and themes that their societies were built on. Art is a tangible way to experience the past, and it deserves funding and the public’s acknowledgement.

    The UA could use this same method to spotlight its arts funding woes. For example, the Center for Creative Photography is the largest institution in the world devoted to documenting the history of North American photography. It also houses the complete archives of Ansel Adams and W. Eugene Smith, among others, which emphasizes its importance.

    The center’s budget has been so severely cut that the art library, which was once housed inside, is now being used as a storage room. And if you want to check out or read one of the many rare books in the collection, you have to go all the way to the Science and Engineering Library, which makes no sense. The center can also no longer hold public viewings of photographs from certain collections, keeping the work of these amazing photographers hidden from sight.

    The center should follow the example of the protest in Italy to emphasize that without proper funding, these works are useless, because they’re hidden away.

    — Rebecca Miller is a junior studying photography and journalism. She can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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