The artist Maurizio Cattelan’s taped banana at Art Basel Miami, USA, prompted so much buzz and commotion that it was removed on Sunday before the end of the fair. The banana that consumed the art world has taken early retirement.
The artist Maurizio Cattelan — whose fruit duct taped to the wall with was sold three times at Art Basel Miami, for $120,000 to $150,000 each time — and his gallery Perrotin announced on Sunday, the last day of the fair, that the banana had been removed from its booth because of the Mona Lisa-like attention it was getting.
“This morning, following recommendations, we removed the installation at 9 a.m.,” the gallery’s statement said, adding: “Art Basel collaboratively worked with us to station guards and create uniform lines. However, the installation caused several uncontrollable crowd movements and the placement of the work on our booth compromised the safety of the artwork around us, including that of our neighbors.”
The announcement followed an incident in which a New York City-based performance artist, David Datuna, pulled the banana off the wall and ate it. Mr. Datuna made light of his action in an Instagram post he titled “Hungry Artist,” writing: “Art performance by me. I love Maurizio Cattelan artwork and I really love this installation. It’s very delicious.” The disruption caused by the piece, titled “Comedian,” became serious business, requiring special security guards dedicated to the banana and stanchions to manage the lines.
According to the gallery, Mr. Datuna’s stunt did not actually destroy the art work or whatever monetary value it might have had at that moment.
Ok now get this, the three buyers who collectively spent about $390,000 on the taped fruit, yes, that’s correct $390,000 had bought the concept of the piece, which comes with a certificate of authenticity from the artist, along with installation instructions. It is up to the owners to secure their own materials from hardware and grocery stores, and to replace the banana, if they wish, whenever it rots. After Mr. Datuna consumed the banana, the gallery taped another one to the wall. The installation has triggered some light hearted debate on social media as into what constitutes art.