Is it art? Real banana duct-taped to wall sells for $120K

There's no way to preserve the banana

An art piece consisting of a banana duct-taped to a wall sold for $120,000 at Art Basel Miami Beach this week, according to artnet news reporter Sarah Cascone.

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The piece, called "Comedian," was renowned Italian satirical artist Maurizio Cattelan's first sculpture for an art fair in 15 years, Cascone reported after visiting the gallery and speaking to both its founder and Cattelan himself. It was purchased by a French woman.

Art Basel founder Emmanuel Perrotin told CNN bananas are "a symbol of global trade, a double entendre, as well as a classic device for humor," sparking "both delight and critique" from viewers.

The banana used in the first piece sold -- yes, there was more than one -- was sourced from a market in Miami. A second copy of the same work was sold to a French man not long after for the same price, and that's when Perrotin and Cattelan agreed to increase the price to $150,000 in the case of a third sale, according to Cascone.

Cattelan first came up with the idea for a banana-shaped sculpture a year ago, according to a press release from Perrotin's gallery in Paris.

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"Every time he traveled, he brought a banana with him and hung it in his hotel room to find inspiration," CNN reported, quoting a statement. "He made several models: first in resin, then in bronze and in painted bronze (before) finally coming back to the initial idea of a real banana."

Cattelan told Cascone that "the banana is supposed to be a banana."

“Wherever I was traveling, I had this banana on the wall. I couldn’t figure out how to finish it,” Cattelan the reporter. “In the end, one day I woke up and I said, ‘The banana is supposed to be a banana.'”

Perrotin, however, told Cascone that a banana without the artist's figurative stamp of authenticity wouldn't be the same.

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"A work like that -- if you don’t sell the work, it’s not a work of art," he said.

There is no way to preserve the banana, and Perrotin plans to throw out the one currently on display by the end of this week unless the collector wants it, but there is a spare banana on hand at the gallery, Cascone reported.

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