1961: Italian artist sells his own dung for price of gold

merde d'artista

In 1961, Italian avant-garde artist Piero Manzoni manufactured and sold 90 small cans, each one filled with his own dung. Their lids were numbered and signed by Manzoni and each sported a label that read:

ARTIST’S SHIT
Net content 30 grammes
Preserved in its natural state
Produced and packaged in May 1961

Manzoni sold his canned dung for $US37 each, basing this on the equivalent per-gramme price of gold. In recent years, Sotheby’s has sold cans of Merde d’Artista for 124,000 euros (2007) and 97,250 pounds (2008).

Source: Various, including Piero Manzoni and Germano Celant, Manzoni, 2007. Content on this page is © Alpha History 2016. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.