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Crappy Art Fetches $96,000 at Christie's

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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BROWN PERIOD Manzoni's shart

You know it's Art Week in New York when a can of excrement sells for almost a hundred grand. Late Italian artist Piero Manzoni's 1961 feces-de-résistance "Merda d'artista no. 19" sold yesterday for more than its asking price. It was part of a Christie's auction for the collection of Swiss uber-dealer Pierre Huber.

The piece is one of 60 cans into which the creatively regular Italian defecated in 1961, a cheeky statement on the fact that people will purchase anything—and one that seems totally lost on art buyers 40-some years later.

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Other, less pungent items sold during the $15 million auction yesterday were a $66,000 set of motorized disco balls from Swiss artist John M. Armleder, a $108,000 rubber dog dish designed by quirky Swiss duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss, and Cady Nolan's "Trashed Mailbox" (a sculpture that is, essentially, a trashed mailbox), which went for a whopping $264,000.

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