A banana, duct-taped to a wall went on a sale at Art Basel Miami Beach this week — priced at $120,000. And, according to art market website Artnet, two of the three editions have already sold, with the last now going for $150,000. The work, by Maurizio Cattelan, was presented Wednesday by Perrotin, a contemporary art gallery founded in Paris that has had a long association with the Italian artist. It is Cattelan’s first contribution to an art fair in 15 years, according to the gallery.
Entitled “Comedian,” the artwork comprises a banana bought in a Miami grocery store and a single piece of duct tape. There are three editions, the gallery said, all of which were offered for sale. Prior to the reported sale, the gallery’s founder, Emmanuel Perrotin, says the bananas are “a symbol of global trade, a double entendre, as well as a classic device for humor,” adding that the artist turns mundane objects into “vehicles of both delight and critique.” Potential buyers should note there are no clear instructions about what to do if the bananas start to decompose.
According to a press statement from Galerie Perrotin, the artist first came up with the idea a year ago. “Back then, Cattelan was thinking of a sculpture that was shaped like a banana,” it reads. “Every time he traveled, he brought a banana with him and hung it in his hotel room to find inspiration. He made several models: first in resin, then in bronze and in painted bronze (before) finally coming back to the initial idea of a real banana.”