Chiara Appendino, mayor of Turin.

Head of Turin Museum Foundation Resigns After Fight With City’s Mayor

Stephanie Kirchgaessner of The Guardian reports that Patrizia Asproni, head of the Turin Museum Foundation, has resigned from her post after a fight with Turin’s new mayor, Chiara Appendino, “a rising star in the populist Five Star Movement.” Appendino called for Asproni’s resignation after a major unnamed sponsor pulled out of a proposed Édouard Manet exhibition, preferring that the show be in Milan instead.

Appendino claims news of the withdrawal caught her off guard. She said, “The city cannot tolerate that the foundation is not able to maintain relationships with important sponsors.” Those familiar with the situation between Appendino and Asproni, however, say the issue is about something much larger—specifically, the mayor’s ambivalent relationship with her city’s reigning cultural constituency. During her campaign, Appendino stressed that museums should focus on making their galleries more accessible to the population, rather than hosting “blockbuster” exhibitions—but this announcement alienated many of the Manet exhibition sponsors. Asproni, who was appointed by the city’s last mayor, Piero Fassino, said she tried doing what she could to work with Appendino, but Appendino kept putting her off.

In an interview yesterday, Asproni said, “It is a terrible thing that the mayor wants to decide which exhibitions go to museums. I think this [calling for my resignation] was a political move because of course I arrived with the previous mayor and he asked me to build the culture of the town.”