Is it art? Or simply expensive excrement?

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The Independent Online
THE GREAT, the good and the glitzy at the Serpentine last night viewed an exhibition which contained two display cabinets showing cans of the late Piero Manzoni's excrement, writes David Lister.

He produced Merda d'artista (Artist's shit) in 1961 at the height of the economic boom of post-war Italy as a signed and numbered edition of 90 that were weighed and sold for the equivalent of the current market rate of gold. Their labels describe the contents as 30g of the artist's excrement, "naturally preserved".

Germano Celant, the curator of last night's exhibition, said: "The cans of Merda d'artista offer a frank criticism of how works of art are turned into desirable objects of special meaning and value. The cans are not meant to be opened and their true content remains the object of conjecture."

However, the content is no longer a matter of conjecture. One of the cans has leaked.