Chimp’s pics snapped up for $76,000 at auction

LONDON (AP) — They’re askew and out of focus, but a set of photos taken by a talented Russian chimpanzee sold at auction Wednesday for 50,000 pounds ($76,680).

The blurry images of Moscow’s Red Square by simian snapper Mikki were part of a sale of Russian photography at Sotheby’s in London.

They were snapped up by a Russian buyer.

Mikki, a performer with the Moscow Circus, was trained to take pictures in the 1990s by Russian conceptual artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid as part of a project to challenge concepts of artistic value.

The sale also included images of Mikki taken by the duo.

Jo Vickery of Sotheby’s contemporary art department said, “You know when people say with contemporary art, ‘I could do that’, this really talks to that.”

The buyer, Russian art collector Kira Flanzaich, said the photos were a fine example of conceptual art.

“Sometimes you think that animals can maybe photograph or do other things better than a human being,” she said. “So we could see it in this particular piece, because Mikki took the photographs that are quite good of Red Square.”

Unfortunately Mikki was not around to enjoy the praise. The chimp died in 2007.

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