Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘Comedian,’ Explained: Here’s Everything We Published on the Viral Banana Art, All in One Place

The banana phenomenon is a study in how stories go viral in our hyperconnected world—and how much some love to hate on contemporary art.

Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian, for sale from Perrotin at Art Basel Miami Beach. Photo by Sarah Cascone.
Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian, for sale from Perrotin at Art Basel Miami Beach. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

Like it or not, the most talked-about artwork of 2019 is a banana. Or, more accurately, a conceptual work of art that involves a banana duct-taped to a wall.

In the final month of the year, Maurizio Cattelan accomplished a feat rarely achieved by any artist other than Banksy: he created a work of art that provoked debate and discussion among audiences of all types, around the world. Comedian, the first work the Italian artist created for an art fair in 15 years, debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach in the first week of December—and promptly captivated everyone.

To document for posterity how this humble piece of produce became a global phenomenon, we have pulled together all of our coverage in one place. Below, check out the evolution of this work from a witty stunt to an unlikely symbol of a labor movement, a pawn in a discussion about financial securities, and much, much more.

Fairgoers take pictures of Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian, for sale from Perrotin at Art Basel Miami Beach. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

Fairgoers take pictures of Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian, for sale from Perrotin at Art Basel Miami Beach. Photo by Sarah Cascone.

Maurizio Cattelan Is Taping Bananas to a Wall at Art Basel Miami Beach and Selling Them for $120,000 Each

Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 Banana Was Ejected From Art Basel Miami Beach After Drawing Unsafe Crowds (and Getting Eaten)

How the Unhinged Reaction to Maurizio Cattelan’s Banana Revealed the Thin Line Between the Art World and Total Anarchy

Buyers of Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 Banana Defend the Work as ‘the Unicorn of the Art World,’ Comparing It to Warhol’s Soup Cans

‘A Banana Is Worth More Than Us’: Maurizio Cattelan’s $120k Fruit Art Has Sparked an Uprising Among Miami’s Underpaid Janitors

Some People Think Cattelan’s Banana Is Genius. This Law Professor Thinks It’s Illegal


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