Pin It
Maurizio Cattelan, Comedian (2019)
Maurizio Cattelan, Comedian (2019)Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 banana joins the Guggenheim’s collection

Comedian caused controversy when it was sold for the six-figure sum in 2019, and has now been donated anonymously to the New York museum

Maurizio Cattelan’s 2019 artwork titled Comedian – which, ICYMI, consists of an outrageously-priced banana stuck to the wall with duct tape – has found a home at New York’s Guggenheim Museum. Comedian joins the institution as an anonymous gift, having caused an uproar at Miami’s Art Basel last year, where three editions were sold by the contemporary art gallery Perrotin. The first two fetched $120,000, while the third was bumped up to $150,000.

“We are grateful recipients of the gift of Comedian, a further demonstration of the artist’s deft connection to the history of modern art,” Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong tells the New York Times, joking: “Beyond which, it offers little stress to our storage.”

“Of all the works I have to confront, this is probably one of the simplest,” adds the Guggenheim’s chief conservator, Lena Stringari. “It’s duct tape and a banana.”

Shortly after Cattelan’s artwork appeared at Art Basel, the New York-based artist David Datuna took it off the wall, peeled it, and ate it in front of a crowd of onlookers as part of a performance piece he titled “Hungry Artist”. As a representative for Perrotin stated at the time, though: “He did not destroy the artwork. The banana is the idea.”

A certificate of authenticity that comes along with the sale of Comedian outlines instructions for its installation, specifying details such as its height off the ground (175cm) and how often the banana should be changed (7 to 10 days, apparently).

Last month, Damien Hirst expressed his sadness at not being able to get his hands on an original version of Comedian, writing on Instagram: “I was desperate to buy this artwork from Maurizio Cattelan... because I love it so much.” At least now he’ll have the chance to see it in person, although a date for its New York debut is yet to be confirmed.