An Inclusive Litany

7/29/02

Prior to his death in 1963, Italian artist Piero Manzoni decided to make "an ironic statement" about the art market. The result was 90 canned samples of his own excrement, each appropriately titled merda d'artista. London's Tate Gallery recently acquired one of these jars for £22,300, more than they would pay for the same weight of gold. The Pompidou Museum of Paris and Museum of Modern Art in New York have also acquired samples the artist's work. There are signs the escalating price may be driven by scarcity, since due to defects in the canning process, half have exploded so far.

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