So there's this famous banana. Or, at least, there was a banana which is now famous for having been eaten*.
The artist is Maurizio Cattelan who is well known as a satirist and a jokester. The banana seems pretty tame compared to some of his other output.
This banana business isn't really my thing. While I do enjoy some more conceptual art and artists, I prefer art that can be accessed in many ways by many viewers. Art like Cattelan's requires the viewer be very well versed in a particular tradition art. That's not bad it's just not broadly appealing. It requires being an insider. So much so, that to an outsider, this art just seems absurd. I was listening to my stories and my virtual podcast pals got increasingly mock-angry with these shenanigans. Mostly though, I think they were just painfully aware that they are just not in on the joke.
I don't like the banana, but I do like that the banana makes me think…
What if it were a Trompe-l'œil sculpture of a duct-taped banana? Perhaps made of clay? Is it still absurd? (it would no longer be delicious)
What if were one thousand bananas instead of one? What if just one were fake? And pink?
What if the original banana was poisoned?
I also like to imagine that all parties - the artist, the gallery - everyone involved are totally honest and serious; everyone is playing fair. And if so…
How did he arrive at a banana? Did he start with bananas or end with bananas?
Did the gallerist come up with the "certificate of authenticity" as a means to sell the work? What's their background? How did they come up with that?
What do the buyers think they're getting? Do they feel like they are part of the story? Do they feel part of the art? Can the sell the work now that they've purchased it? Could they license the banana?
Anyway, here's a sketch of an art starter kit. Happy New Year.
* I think the banana eater, an artist himself, made an error in judgement. He'll be The Hungry Artist for the rest of his life.