Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019

Maurizio Cattelan presents first new work for a fair in 15 years—and it is a banana priced at $120,000

The piece of fruit taped to a wall at Art Basel in Miami Beach "offers insight into how we assign worth", Perrotin gallery says

A fair visitor inspects Maurizio Cattelan's new sculpture, Comedian, on Perrotin's stand Photo: David Owens

The maverick Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is showing a new “sculpture” at Art Basel Miami Beach—the first new piece he has offered at a fair in more than 15 years—comprising just a banana attached to the wall with grey duct tape. The work “offers insight [into] how we assign worth and what kind of objects we value”, according to a statement from Perrotin gallery, which is showing the found object assemblage.

Cattelan developed the idea a year ago when he began thinking of creating a sculpture shaped like a banana. “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,” the gallery says. It added that the fruit on display was “locally sourced” from a grocery store in Miami. The work, an edition of three with two artist’s proofs, is aptly titled Comedian and is priced at $120,000.

Interested collectors should note, however, that there are no precise instructions for the work's long-term care. “If the banana moulds, a decision on that will be made on site,” the gallery says.

UPDATE (4 December): Dealer Emmanuel Perrotin tells us: “The first edition of the banana was sold at 1:15PM. Edition two sold at 3:30PM and we are in discussion for edition three with a museum. Maurizio is seriously back."

Appeared in Fair Dailies, Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019