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Italian Museum “Super-Manager”: Illustrious Artworld Signatories Oppose New Profit-Driven Post

         Mario Resca

As of yesterday, some 2,400 art historians, museum luminaries and other concerned artworld notables had signed the petition against the planned appointment (scroll to the bottom) of Mario Resca, former head of McDonald’s
Italy, to the new position of “super manager” for Italy’s museums. The petition (including English translation) and names of the signatories are here.

The petition states:

The plan to create a “super-manager” figure with absolute powers within the new Directorate of
Italian Museums and the intention to turn its artistic and archaeological
heritage into a business concern are both profoundly misguided for the
present and irremediably damaging for the future.

Signatories include two former directors of the Louvre—Michel Laclotte and Pierre Rosenberg, as well as three Metropolitan Museum curators—Keith Christiansen, James Draper and Stijn Alsteens. (Where are the Met’s current or future director when we really need them?)

Signatures will be collected through tomorrow (Wednesday) here. (Provide name, artworld title and affilliation, city.)

Writing for the NY Times from Rome, Elisabetta Povoledo reports that Italy’s new culture minister, Sandro Bondi, has “discussed the possibility of renting works of art to foreign museums.”

According to Povoledo:

The deepest concern in art circles centers on the government’s apparent
shift from a constitutional mandate to protect Italy’s cultural
heritage toward an entrepreneurial model that exploits it….

“I’m an outsider, and I know that there are concerns—it’s enough to
read the papers,” he [Resca] said, referring to the deluge of indignant
editorials that have been published since he was nominated last week….Italy’s cultural patrimony is a “strategic asset like oil, with zero
costs because it’s there,” Mr. Resca said. “Of course, you have to protect it, and care for it, but it has a value that we can leverage and develop.”…

Despite the furor, Mr. Resca said he was optimistic about his
prospects. “I need time to learn,” he said. “Maybe in six months I’ll
say something completely different.”

Let’s hope so.

an ArtsJournal blog