A banana taped to a wall with duct tape is making waves in the art world. The conceptual artwork by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, titled 'Comedian', was the talk of last week’s 'Art Basel Miami'.
'Banana' Brings Big Bucks
Cattelan sold three editions of his 'banana',ranging from $120,000 to $150,000. The Miami couple who bought this headline-grabbing art piece acknowledged the absurdity of it, but said they believe it will become "iconic”. The couple compared the artwork to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, which they said was initially “met with mockery”.
Meanwhile, Billy and Beatrice Cox said in a statement, that they spent more than $150,000 on the 'unicorn of the art world', "after seeing the public debate it sparked about art and our society. We are acutely aware of the blatant absurdity of the fact that Comedian is an otherwise inexpensive and perishable piece of produce and a couple of inches of duct tape. Ultimately we sense that Cattelan’s banana will become an iconic historical object."
'Banana' Causes Quite the Stir
Cattelan's banana piece was widely parodied on social media, and caused quite a stir at the exhibit.
At one point, another artist named David Datuna removed the banana from the wall, unpeeled it, and took a bite, calling it 'art performance', as a large crowd documented the moment with their cel phones.
The piece became such a focus of gawking that the gallery removed it on the final day of the exhibit, to encourage viewers to see the rest of the art fair.
Critics of the banana piece claim that they can easily recreate the pricey art with a quick trip to a grocery store. But the gallery countered, saying that certificates of authenticity are crucial in conceptual art, and must therefore be considered part of the actual piece.
This harks back to the early days of the Dadaist art movement of the early 1920s, when Marcel Duchamp exhibited a urinal he purchased at a local hardware store as a work of sculpture. And so the debate continues... 'What is art?' The answer seems clear - 'Who knows?'
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