The banana has split.
The controversial piece, titled “Comedian,” was taken down Sunday at the request of Art Basel’s organizers, The New York Post reported.
“Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian, 2019 is no longer on view,” an Art Basel spokesperson told The Post. “The crowds surrounding the installation posed a serious health and safety risk, as well as an access issue, so the work was removed.’”
Around 1:45 p.m. on Saturday in front of a convention center full of art lovers, New York-based performance artist David Datuna ate some of the banana, gallery representatives told the Miami Herald.
He called his performance piece “Hungry Artist.”
“He did not destroy the artwork. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, director of museum relations, said.
Collectors have been buying the certificate of the art — the banana is not made to last.
The banana had been mounted on Emmanuel Perrotin’s outer gallery wall at Art Basel in Miami Beach.
“Art Basel collaboratively worked with us to station guards and create uniform lines,” the Paris-based gallery’s statement said.
“However, the installation caused several uncontrollable crowd movements and the placement of the work on our booth compromised the safety of the artwork around us, including that of our neighbors. In the end, I would like to warmly thank all those who participated in this memorable adventure.”
Art Basel Miami has been a yearly December event during which celebrities and artists have descended for a star-studded week of festivities in Florida, including glamorous parties and art shows.
Two pieces of the work quickly sold for $120,000. The Perrotin gallery raised the price to $150,000 for the third piece, which is to be sold to a museum.
The price tag of Cattelan’s work has spurred viral online criticism of wealth inequality and materialism.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan created the banana duct-taped to a wall art piece that sold for $120,000. (Reuters, File)
The Italian creator of the artwork also was behind the gold toilet offered to the White House on loan by New York City‘s prestigious Guggenheim Museum. The museum rejected a request to display Van Gogh’s 1888 “Landscape With Snow” work in the residence and proposed the toilet instead.
In an August 2017 blog post, Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector said, “Trump is synonymous with golden toilets.”