For those of you who still didn’t know, last week Art Basel, one of the most important contemporary art exhibitions in the world, was held in Miami. Every year thousands of established artists participate, offering works and installations of the highest level. Among these there is Maurizio Cattelan who proposed the irreverent sculpture “Comedian” which translated into Italian means “comic” because it refers to the joke of a character in the TV series Arrested Development: the idea comes from the phrase that the rich have no idea how much a banana costs.
It is a work composed of a banana hanging on the wall with adhesive tape at the stand of Galerie Parrotin and immediately sold for 120 thousand euros. Yes, you read well, one hundred and twenty thousand euros. The artist from Veneto has always adored this fruit, which is a constant in his art and it is for this reason that he decided to propose it again.
The idea originates from a habit of Cattelan that consists of the fact that every time he is traveling he buys a banana and hangs it in his room to find inspiration.
The project was born a year ago and, after creating resin and bronze models, he decided to use a real banana bought by a Miami greengrocer for just over a quarter of a dollar. In the words of gallery founder Emmanuel Perrotin, Comedian is a symbol of global trade, as well as a classic device for humor, which reaffirms the artist’s ability to turn banal objects into vehicles of joy and criticism. Maurizio Cattelan’s aim is to point out how and to what types of objects we value, but also to make us reflect on the concept of value linked to artistic artifacts.
Although the banana is a true work of art, the New York artist David Datuna, on his own initiative, decided to take it and eat it under the eyes of all creating a common upheaval. Subsequently, Datuna posted the video of the “performance” on its Instagram page, calling the exhibition “Hungry Artist” and defining it as a next step of the work.
The New York artist was removed from the art fair after his performance and the fruit was replaced. To prevent anyone from imitating David Datuna, guards were deployed around the new banana to defend and control the replaced work. Subsequently, the work was definitively removed from the exhibition.
Obviously all this has created a big media phenomenon, many newspapers have talked about it and above all have been created some tweets and very funny memes on the subject.