- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ROME (AP) - For a second day in a row, the director of a contemporary art museum in a small Italian town near Naples has burned a painting to protest a shortage of funds.

Antonio Manfredi set aflame a painting by Neapolitan artist Rosaria Matarese on Wednesday night outside the Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, which is housed in the basement of a public school in the hinterland of the southern city.

A day earlier he burned a painting by a French artist. Both artists had given their consent.

Manfredi had threatened to burn paintings if financial help wasn’t promised for the private museum.

Italy’s museums have been strapped for funds for decades, but art world officials say the economic crisis has aggravated the plight. Officials of the center-left Democratic Party appealed to the government Wednesday for funds for the museum.

“We survived for seven years without public funds, with few private sponsors,” Manfredi told AP. “But we would like to be considered a public service.”

The artist, who is also a art teacher, said it was “painful to see my work burning, but it is an important action to save this museum, which is very important for this area.” Matarese said the work was worth about (EURO)6,000-7,000 ($7,800-$9,100).

“We did this action to attract attention of artists and institutions,” Manfredi said, adding that the museum “is running the risk of dying.”

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