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Art or not art?

Culture officials in Rome are mulling a ban on “living statues”, arguing that dressing up in costume and standing on the street to solicit spare change has no artistic merit.

“Living statues demonstrate no artistic activity, to the extent that they can’t be compared to mimes, and they amount to a veritable racket,” said Federico Mollicone, deputy culture chief in Rome’s mayorship…

The proposed ban is part of a broader bill from Mollicone’s office, which aims to regulate activity on Rome’s streets, reports said.

Under the proposal, street musicians could have their instruments or speakers confiscated, and “deafening” music would be banned after 10:00 pm (2000 GMT), compared to the current curfew of 11:00 pm. The measure is to be debated by Rome’s municipal council within two weeks, and must pass a vote before coming into force.