$150,000 for Art slips on a banana peel

People view Maurizio Cattelan's "Comedian" on view at Art Basel Miami 2019 Friday. Two of the three editions of the piece, which feature a banana duct-taped to a wall, have reportedly sold for $120,000.

The gallery replaced the banana with another one 15 minutes after it was taken off the wall and eaten.

Why did the banana go to see the doctor? Because it wasn’t peeling very well. Jokes apart, did you know that a banana stuck to the wall passed off as art at the ongoing 2019 Art Basel Miami event? Not even a ‘realistic’ painting or a Crêpe paper replica of a banana. a real banana. Pasted on the wall. With grey duct tape. And if that is hard to digest (pun unintended), eat this: The three bananas (yes, there were three, limited-edition bananas stuck to three different walls with their individual strips of grey duct tape) sold for between $120,000 and $150,000 apiece. They’re titled Comedian. Ha-ha, anyone?

It’s okay, don’t be so blasé about it… ask the question that’s performing splits in your mind. No? Allow me to, on your behalf. So, what was so special about these bananas? Nothing. At. All. Seriously. The objets d’art all featured regular bananas and regular duct tapes. But (there has to be a but) with one difference. They were pasted over there by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan of America fame. No, not that America. We’re talking about America, the fully functional 18-carat golden toilet (also art) which was stolen in mid-September from an art exhibition. For the uninitiated, Cattelan is known for his satirical sculptures, including La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour), depicting Pope John Paul II struck down by a meteorite.

So you see, the bananas may be ordinary but the price they fetched was anything but because of the artist, who even issued a certificate of authenticity for his artworks. The price-tag may have raised a few eyebrows but there was also one burning question. What happens when the bananas start to rot? That was answered on Saturday when a prankster walked up to one of the Comedian and, in plain sight, removed it off the wall, peeled it and ate it. David Datuna, the New York City-based performance artist who devoured the $120,000 pièce de résistance titled his Insta post of the episode Hungry Artist.

What about art, though? The gallery replaced the banana with another one 15 minutes after the episode, maintaining that Datuna “did not destroy the artwork. The banana is the idea.” I know it may take you a while to laugh again at banana jokes, but I have one of my own. How do you keep a banana from turning brown? Eat it and replace it with a fresher one.