Damien Hirst offered to trade any of his own works for Maurizio Cattelan’s viral duct-taped banana.
A visitor to Art Basel in Miami Beach photographs Comedian (2019) by Maurizio Cattelan in the Perrotin booth. Photo by Benjamin Sutton.
British artist Damien Hirst offered to exchange any of his artworks for Maurizio Cattelan’s viral sculpture, Comedian (2019), which debuted at Art Basel in Miami Beach last year in the Perrotin booth for $120,000 and features a banana duct-taped to a wall.
Hirst wrote in an Instagram post:
I was desperate to buy this artwork from Maurizio Cattelan, called Comedian, because I love it so much. I asked my friend and curator Francesco Bonami to ask Maurizio if he had an A.P. he could sell me or if he would make me a special one? I offered to swap it for anything of mine? But sadly he said no! Wahhhh!
The sensational banana sculpture, which spurred a great deal of discussion about the art world and what is to be considered art, was created in an edition of three with two artists’ proofs. Miami art collectors Billy and Beatrice Cox, and Sarah Andelman, founder of the Parisian boutique Colette, own two editions of the sculpture. Though Hirst was unable to secure one of the artists’ proofs, curator Francesco Bonami made his own version and gifted it to Hirst. His one stipulation was that the banana must be installed pointing in the opposite direction of Cattelan’s original work.
Hirst shared with The Art Newspaper that his obsession with the artwork was “because after everything we’ve seen in art it’s still shocking and upsetting and it makes me laugh.” Hirst also noted that he will replace the banana weekly to ensure that the work looks fresh, following Cattelan’s original instructions for the artwork.