Skip to main content

Unbelievable: Meet Piero Manzoni - The Artist Who Became Famous for Selling His Own Poop (Photos)

An artist has stunned the world after coming up with the rather bizarre idea of selling his poop in the name of art. 

Piero Manzoni
Ask anyone if they would pay anything to own another’s person’s poop, and they will most likely say “hell, no”. But everything changes when the said poop becomes a work of art. Case in point, “Artist’s Shit”, a collection of 30g tin cans allegedly containing the poop of Italian artist Piero Manzoni. Art collectors are buying them for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When Piero Manzoni came up with the idea to can his own poop, in 1961, he probably had no idea that his 30g metal containers would one day sell for astronomical prices. In 2007, the Tate art gallery in London, bought one of Manzoni’s 90 cans for £22,350 ($30,000), and while that may seem like a lot for what is literally just canned crap, they actually got a great deal.
In 2007, another can of “Merda d’Artista” was auctioned off in Milan, for a whopping £81,000 ($108,000). Crazy, right? Not really, just another good deal, because Manzoni’s cans of poop are currently worth around $300,000 apiece. Last year, someone bought can no. 54 for £182,500 ($242,000). At this rate, they’ll soon be worth millions.
The artist's poop
So who was Piero Manzoni? Apparently, he was originally an aristocratic Italian artist specializing in conventional painting, but that all changed one day in January 1957, when he visited an exhibition of Yves Klein’s blue paintings at Galleria Apollinaire in Milan. The display of canvas after canvas of simple blue paint had a huge impact on 23-year-old Manzoni, completely changing his perception of art.
In 1958, the young artist exhibited his first avant-garde artworks, a series of completely white, ‘achromatic’ pictures, and followed that up, just a year later, with some sheets sealed up in boxes. ,”On the boxes would be written the length of the line, its date and, of course, his signature,” Tony Godfrey writes in Phaidon’s Conceptual Art Book. “Here was a truly immaterial and invisible work: if the seal was broken it ceased to be art.”
Manzoni just kept putting out unconventional artworks, like a series of hard-boiled eggs signed with his thumbprint, a series of balloons inflated by him, called “Artist’s Breath”, and in May 1961, he created the work he would become most famous for, “Merda d’Artista”.
Taking advantage of his father’s can factory, Manzoni created a collection of 90 tin cans, all signed by him and labeled as “Artist’s Shit, Freshly Preserved, Produced and Tinned in May 1961”. Each contained 30g of poop and was originally priced according to the gold market at the time, which meant that Manzoni was literally selling his crap for its weight in gold.
The point of “Merda d’Artista” was to highlight and satirize the gullibility of post-WW2 art collectors, who, fueled by the country’s economic boom, would spend big money on virtually anything, even poop. But even Manzoni himself couldn’t have foreseen that his tin cans would end up selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Piero Manzoni died in 1963, at the age of 29, and never got to enjoy the success of his most controversial piece, to its full extent. Those who knew him said that he had all kinds of outrageous projects lined up, but he sadly never got the opportunity to share them with the world.
Do “Artist’s Shit” cans actually contain Manzoni’s waste, or anyone’s waste, for that matter? According to Agostino Bonalumi, who worked with the Italian artist, the containers are filled with plaster, “I can assure everyone the contents were only plaster,” Bonalumi told Corriere della Sera. “If anyone wants to verify this, let them do so.”
But that’s the thing, no one will dare open one of the cans to see the contents for themselves, not with them costing them a fortune as works of art. Popping the lid of one of the 90 cans pretty much compromises its value as a collector’s item, and many believe that the mystery is actually a big part of the artwork’s charm.
At the same time, the contents of “Artist’s Shit” tins raises question of authenticity in art. If an artwork is not what it’s supposed to be, does it really deserve all the attention it gets, and the money spent on it? It’s an interesting dilemma, to be sure, one that it yet to be solved.


Popular posts from this blog

Is Davido A Member Of The Black Axe Secret Cult? Check Out What His Manager Is Saying

Asa Asika, Davido’s country manager,  has rubbished a controversial report which went viral last week that one Tobi Adegoke, a 25-year-old suspected member of the Black Axe cult was lured into becoming a member of the group with promises that joining the group would grant him the rare opportunity of meeting Davido, Vanguard reports. According to the suspect, a budding musician who is currently in police custody after being arrested and paraded alongside 26-other suspected cultists by the Lagos State Police Command last week Wednesday; he fell for the cheap trick because he believed meeting Davido would boost his music career.  “I am an Aiye member (Black Axe). I have been in the cult for about two years. I was told that Davido was a member and if I joined, I will be able to meet him. It was the guy who initiated me that said so. He said he worked for Davido and that it will be easy access for me. But since I joined, I have not met Davido. They told me I’ll become a very popular musici…

Marriage: A school of learning, discovery

By Pastor Okokon Ating I have been enlightened that marriage is an insti-tution established by God which no student has gra-duated from. Once an in-dividual is able to obtain admission into this sch-ool, one keeps on learning till death. In the school of marriage every student is a novice. No matter how highly educated one is, he/she has a blank knowledge compared with the normal academic attainment.                                                   wedding ring
There are many mysteries embedded in marriage unknown to the unlearned heart. Couples do not know marriage but learn and study it. That is, cou-ples learn and study it when they come into the practical aspect of it. I came in contact with a young lady who was busy attending marriage semin-ars and reading several books on marriage. Atten-ding seminars and reading books on marriage are good, I told her; but where you can know and be pr-oud of living confidently in marriage is when you enter into the reality of marriage. This is w…

Save The Planet, Preserve The Ozone Layer

Everything you need to live well
The activities done by man to make life easier has depleted the ozone layer and endangered Planet earth due to pollution. Planet Earth has indicated through global warming the most visible sign of climate change. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), over the last century, sea levels have risen by between 10 and 25 centimeters, and carbon dioxide—the main cause of the greenhouse effect—is responsible for 85% of the increase in the Earth’s temperature over the last 10 years. To stop this negative effect and preserve the ozone layer, here are a few ways to check air pollution; Prevent bush burning In some rural areas bush burning is an easy way to prepare farmlands for cultivation. This is not only harmful to the soil but also the planet as well. Take precautions to avoid starting fires especially during the dry season. Buy organic products. Go for eco-friendly products that have no effec…