, by Piero Manzoni, is perhaps my favourite piece of art.
Alledgedly produced in repsonse to Manzoni's father's comment that to him that "Your work is shit", Merda d'artista
is more than just a literal reply to a figurative rebuke: it's a statement on the process of creation and the value of art, both social and financial; the original 90 cans were offered for sale by weight priced according to the value of gold.
I love the idea that what is ordinarily seem as filthy, disgusting excriment, and something to be disposed of, can become a peice of art: that people were prepared to pay for a can of shit its weight in gold; that today it is worth far more than its weight in gold. And I love the possible irony that the cans may not actually contain the artist's shit (the contents are unkown), that people are not buying what they think they are buying.
It's a great work with many layers of meaning: much more than I could elaberate adequately. Read here
for a more detailed analysis of the work.