''Our 1000 artworks are headed for destruction anyway because of the indifference of the government,” said the museum’s director Antonio Manfredi, who wrote a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year in an attempt to move his entire collection to her nation.
Manfredi added that he was now planning to burn at least three art pieces a work, in an initiative he has dubbed as an “Art War” against the government.
The Casoria Contemporary Art Museum burnt its first art piece on Tuesday – a painting by French artist Severine Bourguigon, who supported the protest and followed it on Skype.
"I feel as if I am in mourning. It is very sad that they burned my painting,” told Bourguigon to the Guardian.
Welsh sculptor John Brown, who torched one of his own works in support of the Museum’s protest, also told the BBC that the art community had not been the only ones being affected by the budget cuts, and described the burning as “a symbolic art” to “protest against the way the economic crisis is being dealt with.”
The austerity measures implemented by the Italian government has left numerous art institutions struggling to keep afloat, with state subsidies and charitable donations from private organisations drying up.
One of Italy’s leading art galleries, the Maxxi Museum of Contemporary Art, for instance, had seen its funding cut by 43 percent last year; and last week, its board of directors was replaced by government-appointed administrators after they failed to approve the 2012 budget set by the nation’s Culture Ministry.
Manfredi said that he was willing to take his “entire museum” out of the country if he was granted “artistic asylum” somewhere else.
“If the government could allow Pompeii to fall then what hope does my museum have?” Manfredi said; referring to the recent financial trouble experienced by the management of the Ruins of Pompeii – a highly important and renowned archaeological site.