Things That Matter

RIP To The $120,000 Art Basel Banana, Man Eats It To Make A Statement

You read that correctly: a banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000 to a French art collector at Art Basel in Miami Beach and then a man walked right up to it and ate it. Now, we don’t have a $15 minimum wage and the United States’ poorest people paid more in taxes than its billionaires last year, but no need to worry everything is fine. 

The artwork was entitled “Comedian” by Italian artist Maurizo Cattelan. Cattelan is also responsible for creating an 18-karat gold toilet called “America” that was shown in the Guggenheim’s public restroom in 2016. 

Rest assured, this work of art is not about the banana, it’s about the concept — something you don’t need a material object to understand so why buy it, but OK. 

An artist eats the banana and turns the piece into performance art.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B5yIFp2hyE-/

Performance artist David Datuna took the duct-taped banana off the wall and ate it on camera. He called the piece “Hungry Artist.” I don’t know which person we should resent more in this scenario, the person who sold the banana, the person who ate the banana, or the person who bought it? Probably, the person who bought it. 

“It’s not about the piece. It’s an art performance. Maurizio Cattelan, I love him. One artist eats another artist. It’s fun,” Datuna said.

It’s always great when rich people can remind us that everything we need like water and agriculture already belongs to us and is being sold back to us at completely arbitrary prices and there’s nothing we can do about it (just kidding vote for a Democrat, that’s something you can do).  

The gallery truly did not care that someone ate his banana. 

Lucien Terras told the New York Post the artwork was still intact because the Certificate of Authenticity that came with the work of art said owners may replace the banana as needed. Not only do you have to $120,000 for this banana, but you also have to keep replacing it for the rest of your life. 

“He did not destroy the artwork. The banana is the idea,” Terras said. “This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we’re not into spectacles. But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces.”

I am not smiling. 

The piece is from Emmanuel Perrotin’s outer gallery wall art at Art Basel and Perrotin was not pleased that his perishable item immediately perished in someone’s belly. According to the New York Post, when he heard the banana had been eaten Perrotin, who was on his way to the airport turned back in fury. An attendee gave him a banana to cheer him up. These are adults. 

People can’t stop talking about how dumb this whole banana thing which just keeps increasing its power. The banana is our king. 

“That banana has been more photographed than the Mona Lisa,” Terras told the Miami Herald in jest.

There were so many people clamoring to take a photo of an ugly banana with duct tape on at Art Basel that police had to come in to do crowd control. 

“This has been interesting,” said Miami Beach police Capt. Steven Feldman. “The gallery is OK with people taking pictures of the banana. It is a delicate balancing act. We just want to make sure the area is secure.”

According to the Miami Herald for $120,000, Cattelan can buy 631,579 bananas at Trader Joe’s. That’s exactly what I would do if I had that money. I’d just buy more bananas, bring them to Art Basel, sell ’em for $120,000 each, boom – it’s called flipping the package, fam. 

On a more serious note, some folks believe the banana does the entire art community a disservice, while other experts wondered if it was a money-laundering scheme (which is not uncommon in the art world according to the New York Times). 

I think we can all agree that whether the art industry is a joke or not is irrelevant to the fact that the joke is always on poor people. 

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