Art fans and critics are going bananas for a surprising piece of work that fetched more than $175,000 in the US this week.
Called Comedian, the unlikely work by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is pretty simple – a single banana duct-taped to a wall.
It’s on show at Art Basel in Miami Beach – where two early editions have already sold.
Art Basel is an international festival known for attracting celebrities and art fans looking for innovative new pieces.
Art market website Artnet said the first edition of Comedian came from a local Miami supermarket and was sold for $US120,000 by international gallery Emmanuel Perrotin.
The second edition reportedly sold to a man at Art Basel. That prompted the gallery and Cattelan to raise the price to $150,000 before selling the third edition to a museum.
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The talk of the town in Miami right now is Maurizio Cattelan’s “Comedian,” a banana 🍌 duct taped to the wall. Two have already sold for $120,000 at Perrotin 😉 read more, including about the banana my husband, @nnddmmyy, hung on his dorm wall for two years, on Artnet News, link in bio @artnet @galerieperrotin @mauriziocattelan @artbasel #art #conceptualart #banana #sculpture #artbasel #artbaselmiamibeach #artbaselmiami #artfair #artgallery #artwork #whatisart #isthisart #miami #miamibeach #florida #miamiflorida #mauriziocattelan #perrotin #galerieperrotin #artist #bananapeel #ducttape #artnetnews #artcollector #vippreview #artjournalism #artjournalist #openingday #artgallery #gallery #artworld
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Cattelan is considered something of a satirist. His other works have included a wax statue of Pope John Paul II being hit by a meteorite and an installation of 2000 stuffed pigeons at the Venice Biennale.
In a 2011 solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, he hung all his works from the ceiling and, in 2016, he replaced a toilet in a public restroom at the same museum with a functional replica cast in 18-karat gold.
But Artnet said Comedian was a carefully considered series of pieces.
“Every aspect of the work was carefully considered, from the shape of the fruit, to the angle it’s been affixed with duct tape to the wall, to its placement in the booth – front and centre, on a large wall that could have easily fit a much larger painting – he said,” senior writer Sarah Cascone said.
For his part, gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin described the reaction to Comedian as a miracle.
“I don’t know how this happened,” he said.
Earlier, he told CNN that bananas were “a symbol of global trade, a double entendre, as well as a classic device for humour”.
The Miami Herald said buyers of the works could replace the banana as needed.