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Maurizio Cattelan banana t-shirt
courtesy of Perrotin

Maurizio Cattelan’s banana taped to a wall is being sold on t-shirts

Proceeds will benefit a Florida anti-hunger charity

Maurizio Cattelan’s infamous banana taped to a wall at last year’s Art Basel was, depending who you ask, a wry social commentary, a solid, $120,000 meme, or – at least for one self-proclaimed performance artist – a tasty snack. But now it’s also a t-shirt, with a much more reasonable price tag.

The artwork, Comedian (2019), is being printed on t-shirts for a good cause. Proceeds will benefit an anti-hunger organisation, Feeding South Florida, which serves several counties in the US state.

At just $25, the shirts aren’t expected to last very long when they go on sale today at 10am (or around 3pm, UK time) online and from the New York bookstore of the gallery that represents the artist, Perrotin.

The artist raising money for the Florida charity is kind of apt, since the original artwork (all three editions of which sold for the asking price or above) sparked a protest about wages and working conditions from Miami-based janitors. 

Some calling it “the platanito protest”, activists marched with bananas taped to their shirts, a la Comedian, and told the Miami New Times: “A banana is worth more than us.”

Following the growing buzz around the artwork (and it being eaten by David Datuna) it was removed from Art Basel, for its own safety and that of the gathering crowds. Even then, someone decided to take advantage of the blank wall to scrawl: “Epstein didn’t kill himself” in red lipstick.

The Epstein truther, Rod Webber, is set to appear in court in February, though he argues he should be let off without consequences, since Datuna was as well.