A banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000 at Miami’s Art Basel this week — it may be the most talked-about artwork at this year’s event. Two of the three editions have been sold, according to Perrotin, the contemporary art gallery behind the work. The last one is expected to go for $150,000.
The controversial piece, called “The Comedian,” was created by Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian artist who had also entertained art lovers from around the globe in 2017 with his “America”. However, the $6-million throne was from England’s Blenheim Palace over the summer.
Emmanuel Perrotin, the gallery founder, told CBS News that Maurizio’s work is not just about objects, but about how objects move through the world.
“Whether affixed to the wall of an art fair booth or displayed on the cover of the New York Post, his work forces us to question how value is placed on material goods,” he said.
He added that “the spectacle is as much a part of the work as the banana.”
Some critics argue this piece is a perfect representation of what the art world has become with its gaping wealth inequalities. Others, however, chose not to go as deep and appreciate the simplicity of the art piece.
The artist first came up with the idea a year ago. He “was thinking of a sculpture that was shaped like a banana,” according to a press statement from Perrotin.
“Every time he traveled, he brought a banana with him and hung it in his hotel room to find inspiration. He made several models: first in resin, then in bronze and in painted bronze (before) finally coming back to the initial idea of a real banana.”
The artist reported no clear instructions for buyers on whether the bananas start to decompose. The Miami Herald reported that owners can replace the banana, as needed.