Art Basel Miami: Banana works by artist Maurizio Cattelan selling for $120,000

For $120,000 an art aficionado with a very 1-percent wallet can buy Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s new work of art a banana duct-taped to wall

For $120,000 an art aficionado with a very 1-percent wallet can buy Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s new work of art a banana duct-taped to wall

A duct-taped banana artwork is selling for $183,000 at Art Basel in Miami.

The piece, titled "Comedian", is the brainchild of Italian artist and prankster Maurizio Cattelan, 59. Artnet reports the first edition was purchased by a French woman and the second edition by a French man on Wednesday.

It is Cattelan's first contribution to an art fair in 15 years, the gallery said.

Perrotin now intends to sell a third edition of the work to a museum, though after some discussion between Cattelan and the gallery, the price has been raised to $150,000.

Cattelan did not expound on the meaning of the artwork to Artnet, but Perrotin told CNN that bananas are "a symbol of global trade, a double entendre, as well as a classic device for humor" and that Cattelan has form in transforming everyday objects into "vehicles of both delight and critique".

What might look like a throwaway gag was actually more than a year in the making, according to Galerie Perrotin.

"This banana duct taped to a wall JJ's sold for 120,000 at @ArtBasel there are literally NO WORDS for how f**king stupid this is". "Every time he travelled, he brought a banana with him and hung it in his hotel room to find inspiration".

Cattelan hasn't provided instructions for what to do when the pricey bananas start to rot - but he does keep an extra on hand in the Art Basel booth in case of theft.

Cattelan is the same artist behind the 18-karat solid gold working toilet art work titled "America", which made headlines in January when burglars stole it from its exhibit in Britain's Blenheim Palace, the birthplace and ancestral home of Winston Churchill.

"Back then, Cattelan was thinking of a sculpture that was shaped like a banana", Perrotin shared in a press release, according to CNN. The artist concocted several rough drafts - including bananas cast in resin and bronze - before settling on the bona fide fruit. Perrotin could not immediately be reached for comment on whether a sale has gone through.

The gold toilet has not yet been recovered.

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