Artist
Piero Manzoni
Italian artist

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Piero Manzoni
Italian artist

Birth Date

1933

Death Date

1963

Sr. Editor

Manzoni was an Italian artist who was very influenced by his country’s rapidly changing economy. Most of his work is a critique on consumerism, especially in the art world. This explains why a lot of his pieces seem to push the envelope on what we can consider commercially viable art. He sold completely white canvases, eggs with his thumbprints on them, balloon’s filled with his own breath and perhaps most famously, tin cans full of the artist’s excrement. For one series of work, he actually signed people who came to his show saying that they too were now a work of art…for a price of course.

In 1961 he made a sculpture declaring that the whole world was a work of art! The implication being of course that the whole concept of a separate “art” is useless.
Where can art possibly go from there, you may ask? Well after Manzoni died at the age of 30 from a heart attack, the artist Ben Vautier signed his death certificate, declaring it a work of art. This act ensured that even Manzoni’s final demise was an ironic destruction of the lines that separate art and life.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Piero Manzoni

Meroni Manzoni di Chiosca e Poggiolo, better known as Piero Manzoni (July 13, 1933 – February 6, 1963) was an Italian artist best known for his ironic approach to avant-garde art. Often compared to the work of Yves Klein, his own work anticipated, and directly influenced, the work of a generation of younger Italian artists brought together by the critic Germano Celant in the first Arte Povera exhibition held in Genoa, 1967. Manzoni is most famous for a series of artworks that call into question the nature of the art object, directly prefiguring Conceptual Art. His work eschews normal artist's materials, instead using everything from rabbit fur to human excrement in order to "tap mythological sources and to realize authentic and universal values".

His work is widely seen as a critique of the mass production and consumerism that was changing Italian society (the Italian economic miracle) after World War II. Italian artists such as Manzoni had to negotiate the new economic and material order of post-war Europe through inventive artistic practices which crossed geographic, artistic, and cultural borders.

Manzoni died of myocardial infarction in his studio in Milan on February 6, 1963. His contemporary Ben Vautier signed Manzoni's death certificate, declaring it a work of art.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Piero Manzoni.