Home Magazine The Guggenheim Museum will display Maurizio Cattelan’s notorious banana

Maurizio Cattelan’s famous banana artwork duct-taped to the wall has now become a part of Guggenheim’s permanent collection in New York, gifted by an anonymous donor.

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The world-famous museum Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York has announced that the notorious banana duct-taped to the wall has now been donated to the museum by an anonymous donor and will be included in its permanent collection. "We are grateful recipients of the gift of 'Comedian' - commented the director of the Guggenheim Museum, Richard Armstrong - a further demonstration of the artist's skillful connection with the history of contemporary art". In this way, the director announced the artwork’s donation but without specifying a date from which the public can admire the famous installation on the walls of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.


"Comedian" by Maurizio Cattelan, Galerie Perrotin, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2019. Photo credits: Jessica Klingelfuss.


Comedian’ is one of the most controversial and provocative works by Maurizio Cattelan, that involves a banana duct-taped to a wall. It was born from the habit of the Paduan conceptual artist to buy a banana when he travels and attach it to a wall in order to find the right inspiration. The artwork had made a sensation when it was exhibited in the Perrotin Gallery booth at Art Basel Miami in 2019. On that occasion, the art fair had to calm the public access that had clogged the exhibition spaces to view the fruit on sale for $120,000 slowly withering. ‘Comedian' became even more successful with the ‘Hungry Artist’ art performance carried out by another conceptual artist, David Datuna. During the fair, the latter detached the banana from the wall and started eating it in front of the astonished and amused gaze of the visitors walking by the gallery’s booth. 


"Comedian" by Maurizio Cattelan, Galerie Perrotin, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2019. Photo credits: Cindy Ord.


Perrotin has managed to sell three editions of the work to private collectors, raising the price to $150,000 for the last piece. Despite the interest of many collectors, including the artist Damien Hirst, the gallery has chosen to keep two artist's proofs for itself. The owners of the work - including the Guggenheim - are required to supply their own bananas and tape to carry out the installation. The six-figure amount paid is actually the price of the certificate of authenticity accompanied by an instruction manual on how to install and display the banana. In fact, Cattelan provided specific indications regarding the exact angle and height at which to affix the fruit to the wall. The banana must be attached to the wall 175 centimeters above the ground, at an angle of 37 degrees, and must be changed every 7-10 days.

To purchase the three pieces, the well-known U.S. collectors Sarah Andelman, founder of the Colette concept store in Paris, Billy and Beatrice Cox, owners of the Dow & Jones Company, and a third anonymous French buyer. In the past, the Coxes would have expressed a desire to donate the work to a museum. They could therefore be the mysterious benefactors who donated Cattelan's banana to the Guggenheim, but no confirmation has been received from the museum.


Interior View of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, 2019. Photo credits: Guggenheim Museum.


Cover image: "Comedian" by Maurizio Cattelan, Galerie Perrotin, Art Basel Miami Beach, 2019. Photo credits: Jessica Klingelfuss

Written by Maria Eleonora Piva

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