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June 19, 2007

Manzoni's Cans

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --


In 1961, Italian artist Piero Manzoni canned some of his shit and displayed the cans as art. The gesture was an anarchist's joke at the expense of the artworld -- it was probably meant to be considerably more than that too. In any case, Manzoni's turd-tins eventually became expensive art-things in their own right.

Now the joke is getting another punchline -- it turns out that there's no shit in those cans. An artist who worked with Manzoni has revealed that the Manzoni caca-cans are in fact full of plaster. Will the art world take this revelation as further proof of Manzoni's canny greatness? We can only hope.

Here's the Piero Manzoni webpage. Wikipedia lists a number of Manzoni's other projects. FWIW, as zany conceptual art-world hijinks go, many of them strike me as pretty inspired.



posted by Michael at June 19, 2007


I'm not certain that all the cans were indeed plaster. A while ago a museum with some of the cans in its collection noticed they were beginning to ferment and burst, and art restorationists had to be called in at considerable expense to preserve them. So apparently those cans at least were full of the same stuff as the art world. (Heh. Indeed.)

And a propos of nothing, did you know that the art forger Elmyr got so famous for faking the paintings of others that a new generation of forgers began to paint fake Elmyrs?

Posted by: Brian on June 19, 2007 7:30 PM

I also recall a story about bursting cans, though I have the impression it was in print, so I'm going to have a hard time backing that up.

Posted by: Su on June 23, 2007 11:41 PM

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