By Anne Leader

On this day, 13 July 1933, Italian painter and conceptual artist Piero Manzoni was born in Soncino in the province of Lombardy. Associated with the avant garde and the Arte Povera movement, his work provoked questions about the definition of art by using nontraditional materials (such as animal fur and human excrement) in his work. He died at the age of 30 in Milan after suffering a heart attack.

Reference: Laural Weintraub. “Manzoni, Piero.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. .

Piero Manzoni in 1960

Fiato d’artista (Artist’s Breath), 1960

Artist’s Shit, May 1961, metal, paper, and “artist’s shit,” New York: The Museum of Modern Art, Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder

Achrome, 1962, fiberglass on velvet-covered wood, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, Nina and Gordon Bunshaft Bequest, Mrs. John Hay Whitney Bequest, and Donald B. Marron Funds © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Achrome, ca. 1960, kaolin on canvas, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, The Riklis Collection of McCrory Corporation © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

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