Art is Bananas!

Art is Bananas!

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Art has gone bananas. I went to a small craft and art faire in Phoenix and found a young “artist” selling “artwork” which consisted of a banana duct taped to a canvas. If that wasn’t enough of a treasure, you could buy an avocado displayed in the same manner. One hundred bucks each and yes, a few people (nuts) were buying these depictions of “still life.” And if the world can get any weirder, let’s not forget the avant-garde artist named Maurizio Cattelan.

A few years ago, Cattelan gave considerable thought to an art object he would be creating and displaying at Miami’s Art Basel. He wanted to do something with a banana, the glorious yellow fruit that we all love to eat. Over 100 Billion bananas are consumed every year in the world! In honor of this beloved fruit, the artist wanted to “create something special.”

So, he took a ripe banana, wrapped some duct tape around it and stuck it on the wall of a gallery. He named it “Comedian.” Oh yeah, and this is one of three editions. Price? A mere $120,000. You read that right. A thirty-cent banana stuck to the wall with duct tape sells immediately for 120,000 bucks! And his second and third editions also pulled in the same sort of dough. Yikes, who finds this a-peeling?

Of course, it gets even stranger. A performance artist named David Datuma, grabbed the banana off the wall and ate it! Claiming he was ravishingly hungry, people gasped in horror watching him devour the “masterpiece.” The police were called (no arrests were made). It appears that everyone in the Miami art scene lost their collective minds that day.

The gallery released a statement, saying that, “Cattelan’s work is not just about objects, but how objects move through the world.” Maybe moving through one’s stomach is a better way of saying this. The “art work” comes with a certificate of authenticity, and the gallery claims that when the banana was eaten, the art was not destroyed. It is the banana (stupid) that is simply the concept. And worth big bucks. Brilliant.

Well, Dear Readers, for those of us who guard our precious money and are rather frugal, this “banana masterpiece” might be a road too far. Perhaps I am just not grasping the beauty of a banana being duct taped to a wall. This is called “provocation sculptural intervention,” according to the artist and his agent. They also said that the fact that it was so tempting to eat shows the true compelling nature of the “authenticity” of the art.

Evidently art is in the mind, eyes and wallet of the beholder. And if a young artist in Phoenix can sell a duct-taped banana for a hundred bucks, suddenly it seems like a bargain. It is capitalism and who can blame an artist for fetching a (ridiculously) high price. Wish I had thought of it.

I do know how to bake delicious banana bread. Perhaps I will sell it for one-hundred-grand a loaf and call it “edible art.” No certificate of authenticity, or duct tape required.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or at

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