Arguably the most-photographed ‘artwork’ at the 2019 Art Basel Miami early December was a whole banana, skin on, stuck to a wall with duct tape.
This was art, according to Italian Maurizio Cattelan. His mother probably thinks the 59 year old should have grown up by now but as Business of Fashion says:
‘Known primarily for his hyperrealistic sculptures and installations, Cattelan’s practice also includes curating and publishing. His satirical approach to art has resulted in him being frequently labelled as a joker or prankster of the art world.
‘Maurizio Cattelan’s conceptual art piece ‘Comedian’ — a banana duct-taped to a wall — caused so much commotion at this year’s Art Basel Miami that it was removed from display before the end of the fair. “The crowds surrounding the installation posed a serious health and safety risk, as well as an access issue, so the work was removed,” said Art Basel in a statement.
‘By that time, the banana, which came with a $120,000 price tag and was by far the most Instagram-ed piece at Basel, had already become a viral sensation, sparking plenty of debate on what constitutes art, landing on the front page of the New York Post and sending the internet meme-factory into overdrive, resulting in everything from bananas taped to Nike Air Force 1s to a rendering of Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” featuring a banana and duct tape.
‘On Saturday, New York-based performance artist David Datuna went so far as to pull the original banana off the wall at Basel and eat it, recording the stunt for Instagram before he was escorted from the fair. (Cattelan’s gallery, Perrotin, which the day before had launched an Instagram account dedicated to the famous fruit, simply taped up another banana).
‘It was all a major coup for Cattelan and Galerie Perrotin. And underscoring the marketing genius of the piece, brands from Burger King to Jacquemus even got in on the game, posting their own takeoffs on Cattelan’s banana to social media in a bid to join the conversation.’
The relevance to the luxury travel and hospitality world is – crazy art or sculpture in an airport lounge (the Mooi full-size horses in British Airways’ Terraces at London Heathrow Terminal 5) or hotels (the balloon blow-up Jeff Koons at Encore Boston Harbor MA) make every smile.