‘Merda d’Artista’ by Piero Manzoni
Andres Serrano declared himself the champion of fecal art in 2008. However, his play on human excrement is not very groundbreaking when you consider the 90 cans of ‘Merda di’Artista’ by Piero Manzoni. Manzoni ‘produced’ the contents of the cans in 1961. Manzoni priced the cans based on the weight of gold. The artist died a few years later-- a few months short of 30 years of age. Since that time the individual cans have sold for as much as $80,000. The Gagosian Gallery is currently holding the first major United States retrospective of Manzoni’s work. While Manzoni is best known for his canned feces the retrospective shows that there was more to Manzoni than 90 cans crap.
The exhibit at Gagosian ranks Manzoni as one of the first major artist critics of the art world-- art world criticism via means of creation. His radical brand of conceptualism took jabs at the art dealers and collectors who supported him. At heart Piero Manzoni was a critic of the commercialization of the art world-- one could say that he loathed it. The irony being that art collectors still pay larges sums of money for his visual criticism today.
Links of Interest:
Manzoni: A Retrospective [Gagosian]
Piero Manzoni: A Retrospective [Time Out NY]
To Bump Off Art as He Knew It [NY Times]
Italian Conceptualist Piero Manzoni: More Than the Guy Who Canned HisCaca [Village Voice]
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