Art Attack: Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘Comedian’


When one attends a prestigious art gallery, they would expect to see some of the finest works of art in the industry, whether it be sculptures or oil paintings. What one wouldn’t expect to be exhibited however, is a piece of plain fruit duct taped to a wall.

Back in 2019, Art Basel Miami, an international contemporary art fair, exhibited the famous Art Basel Banana, titled ‘Comedian’, by the artist Maurizio Cattelan. The work received a lot of attention from the fair’s attendees, the internet, and art critics, mostly for its ridiculousness. 

The piece is quite literally just a banana duct taped to the wall. The gallery reveals that Cattelan had been thinking about creating a banana-shaped sculpture for quite some time, trying out different materials such as resin and bronze. 

“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,’” Cattelan says in a interview with Artnet’s Sarah Cascone.

While I do understand the idea behind the popular banana, that being to explore the way we assign worth to an object, I still think that this piece insults the efforts other artists put into their pieces that achieve the same meaning. It isn’t pleasant to look at either, and instead fills me with confusion as to how and why the banana was able to enter the exhibition in the first place. There is no context, no story, just a banana and tape. 

On top of its absurd presentation, the piece sold for $120,000, only for the banana to be eaten by another artist, David Datuna.

“It tasted like $120,000…It was delicious,” says Datuna in a Vogue interview.

    This  piece leaves many, including myself, wondering what can actually be considered art. Although some may appreciate this piece solely for its meaning, its presentation is far too comical for my taste. The fact that so many consider this absurdity as art is, for lack of a better word, bananas.