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Artist's Shit (Italian: Merda d'artista) is a 1961 artwork by the Italian artist Piero Manzoni. The work consists of 90 tin cans, each reportedly filled with 30 grams of faeces, and measuring 4.8 by 6.5 centimetres, with a label in Italian, English, French, and German stating:
Contents 30 gr net
Produced and tinned
in May 1961
A tin was sold for €124,000 at Sotheby's on May 23, 2007; in October 2008 tin 83 was offered for sale at Sotheby's with an estimate of £50–70,000. It sold for £97,250. On October 16, 2015, tin for £182,500. In August 2016, at an art auction in Milan, one of the tins sold for a new world record of €275,000, including auction fees. The tins were originally to be valued according to their equivalent weight in gold – $37 each in 1961 – with the price fluctuating according to the market.
Enrico Baj a friend of his, has said that the cans were meant as "an act of defiant mockery of the art world, artists, and art criticism".
Another of Manzoni's friends, the artist Agostino Bonalumi, claimed that the tins are full not of faeces but plaster. The cans are steel, and thus cannot be x-rayed or scanned to determine the contents, and opening a can would cause it to lose its value; thus, the true contents of the Artist's Shit are unknown.
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