Italians outraged by Changes to Culture Ministry

Anche la stampa specializzata sul web ci si mette. Riporto l’articolo apparso su ARTINFO il 24 novembre che tratteggia gli Italiani in una situazione di indignazione per le scelte che il Ministro della cultura intende effettuare.

Italians Outraged by Changes to Culture Ministry

ROME—The Italian art world is in an uproar over comments by its culture minister and the recent selection of a former McDonald’s executive as head of a new ministry directorate to oversee the nation’s museums, the New York Times reports.

Culture minister Sandro Bondi has outraged critics by stating that the country should think of its state museums and archaeological sites as sources of revenue. Also troubling was Bondi’s pick to head the directorate — Mario Resca, who ran McDonald’s Italy for 12 years but has no experience in arts management.

The moves have raised the concern that the government is shifting its role from custodian mandated to protect Italy’s cultural heritage to entrepreneur free to exploit it.

“What’s at stake is the conservation and transmission of millenary values that one government must not be allowed to undersell or demolish,” said Marisa Dalai Emiliani, president of the Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli Association, a cultural research institute.

A petition against the appointment of Resca was circulated at a day-long seminar on the arts titled “Cultural Heritage Emergency.” Now online, it has been signed by more than 1,100 people, many of them museum directors and art historians from around the world.

Bondi has responded to his critics by saying by saying that the ministry will change how it does things in the light of the heavy cost of preserving the country’s cultural heritage. Due to the global economic crisis, more than €1 billion ($1.25 billion) have been slashed from the Culture Ministry’s budget over the next three years.

“We’ve been fighting to have more funds — we need them, but the left thinks these have to come from the state,” Bondi said. “The fact is it just can’t be like that anymore.”

As a result, he reorganized the ministry, creating the new super-managerial position focusing on museums and archaeological areas and eliminating the directorate of contemporary art and architecture.

Bondi has also discussed the possibility of renting works of art to foreign museums, another proposal that provoked fierce outcries among cultural officials.

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