The piece is titled, Comedian.
According to the NY Times,
Maurizio Cattelan‘s latest provocative work — a banana taped to a wall with duct tape — was sold for $120,000 at Art Basel Miami.
“The fact that somebody buys it, makes the piece,”
the founder of the gallery that represents Cattelan said.
Gallery Emmanuel Perrotin said,
“We sold it already.”
The buyer, a French woman, had never bought a work by the artist.
Edition number two sold as well. After the second sale, Perrotin texted Cattelan, and they agreed to raise the price to $150,000 for the third edition of the work, which they decided to sell to a museum.
Two institutions have already expressed interest.
Cattelan is known for being something of an art world prankster. He made, among other things, a gold toilet titled America and a life-sized Pope being struck by a meteor. But this piece is no joke.
It made the cover of the New York Post…
OK, so ha-ha-funny. Right? People react, typically,
“OMG the art world is insane!”
“I could do that!”
Um, well, no, you couldn’t. You’d need to be a world-class conceptual artist, with a top notch gallery who had a very expensive booth at Art Basel Miami, first. And then you’d need an idea. Each one of the aspects of those sentences is a hat trick very few on earth can pull off.
This is conceptual art. The art of the idea, not the object. Why is it art? Because the artist says it is.
Yes, as Andy Warhol famously said,
“Art is what you can get away with.”
But the trick is, you have to able to GET AWAY WITH IT. How many people can afix a banana to a wall with duct tape and have it sell for $120,000?
And it’s not just about getting away with it, but as the artist himself says,
“Originality doesn’t exist by itself. It is an evolution of what is produced. ”
Cattelan says he has been working the idea for about a year, first creating versions in bronze and resin. Somehow, they didn’t cut. it. Artnet News writer Sarah Cascone says that Cattelan told her on the phone from Perrotin’s booth,
“Wherever I was traveling I had this banana on the wall. I couldn’t figure out how to finish it. In the end, one day I woke up and I said
‘the banana is supposed to be a banana.’”
Myself, I could gas on about for another few paragraphs, but my friend, artist Mike Cockrill posted this thought below that I found interesting. He gave me permission to share, along with some comments of fellows artists and friends.
Want to learn how artists think? Facebook really is great for this… you can learn a lot.
“I actually don’t have any problem with this piece. I’ve always like ‘stupid’ art ideas. Memorable ones are not so easy to pull off.
(Vito Acconci’s ‘Following Piece’ 1969 has alway struck me as brilliant. I love John Baldessari’s photo sequence of trying to throw 4 oranges into the air to form the perfect corners of a square. He eventually gets it.)
I may even like the banana taped to the wall better than Joseph Beuys ‘Battery’ with the lemon plugged into a socket and light bulb – which is great, but doesn’t rise to the drop dead dumb level of Maurizio Cattelan’s “Comedian.”
There is also a strong tradition of Italian Arte Povera that I see this connecting to. If no one was paying attention to it – or paying the 120k for it, then it would be a simple pure zen moment of simplicity. But now it’s a famous work. Okay… Next.
(Don’t loose your certificate of authenticity. Otherwise its just a banana)
Oh! I remember a better one: David Hammons selling various sized snowballs arranged on a blanket on the sidewalk (1983) in the lower eastside like just another street peddler. Now that was brilliant on multiple levels.” –Mike Cockrill
I’ll repeat that quote again, see if it sinks in…?
“Originality doesn’t exist by itself. It is an evolution of what is produced. ” –Maurizio Cattelan
Curator Bill Arning posted this comment about the piece on Facebook…
“I admire the simplicity of the gesture and its massive effect, I just saw a hundred folks lined up to get their photos with it. This is the same artist who taped his gallerist to the wall of his first show and made his dealer wear a pink penis costume during the run of his second show.”