In Fiery Protest, John Craig Freeman Sets Art Ablaze

In solidarity with Antonio Manfredi, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Casoria, Italy, who burned his artwork to protest deep cuts to the arts, John Craig Freeman set his seminal augmented reality artwork, Water wARs ablaze in Venice.


Water wARs on Fire: Giardini, by John Craig Freeman, augmented reality public art, Venice Italy, 2011.


Water_wARS_Piazza_San_Marco_Fire” width=”450″ height=”253″ class=”size-full wp-image-3847″ /> “Water wARs on Fire: Piazza San Marco,” by John Craig Freeman, augmented reality public art, Venice Italy, 2011.

Manfredi’s art war consists of setting works of art on fire to protest cuts to Italy’s arts budget. He’s pledged to incinerate two or three pieces of art each week from a museum collection housing about 1,000 exhibits.

You can read the full story or listen to the report at NPR.

“So far, he’s received no official reaction. But Manfredi’s bonfires have sent sparks around Europe, garnering solidarity and igniting similar protests in artist colonies in Germany, Wales and England,” and now in the virtual art world.


About John Craig Freeman

John Craig Freeman is a public artist with over twenty years of experience using emergent technologies to produce large-scale public work at sites where the forces of globalization are impacting the lives of individuals in local communities. His work seeks to expand the notion of public by exploring how digital networked technology is transforming our sense of place. Freeman is a founding member of the international artists collective Manifest.AR and he has produced work and exhibited around the world including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, FACT Liverpool, Kunsthallen Nikolaj Copenhagen, Triennale di Milano, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing, He has had work commissioned by the ZERO1, and His work has been reviewed in The New York Times, El Pais, Liberation, Wired News, Artforum, Ten-8, Z Magazine, Afterimage, Photo Metro, New Art Examiner, Time, Harper's and Der Spiegel. Christiane Paul cites Freeman's work in her book Digital Art, as does Lucy Lippard in the Lure of the Local, and Margot Lovejoy in Digital Currents: Art in the Electronic Age. His writing has been published in Rhizomes, Leonardo, the Journal of Visual Culture, and Exposure. Freeman received a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of California, San Diego in 1986 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1990. He is currently a Professor of New Media at Emerson College in Boston. Freeman writes, “If Andy Warhol set out to create a distinctly American art form in the twentieth century, I identify with those who seek to create a distinctly global art form in the twenty-first.”
This entry was posted in Augmented Reality. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s