Sep 21, 2020
News

Maurizio Cattelan’s “Comedian” was gifted to the Guggenheim Museum.

A visitor to Art Basel in Miami Beach photographs Comedian (2019) by Maurizio Cattelan in the Perrotin booth. Photo by Benjamin Sutton.

A visitor to Art Basel in Miami Beach photographs Comedian (2019) by Maurizio Cattelan in the Perrotin booth. Photo by Benjamin Sutton.

Maurizio Cattelan’s controversial banana sculpture Comedian (2019) will enter the collection of the Guggenheim Museum. An edition of the work, along with a certificate of authenticity and an elaborate set of instructions for proper installation, was gifted to the museum by an anonymous donor.
The viral sculpture, which is composed of a banana duct-taped to a wall, debuted at Perrotin’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2019, where it caused a stir when it sold three times for prices ranging from $120,000 to $150,000. The piece was ultimately removed from Perrotin’s booth due to the number of onlookers it attracted.
Richard Armstrong, the Guggenheim’s director, told The Art Newspaper:
Maurizio Cattelan's work has been important to the recent history of the Guggenheim. We are grateful recipients of the gift of ‘Comedian’, a further demonstration of the artist's deft connection to the history of modern art. Beyond which it offers little stress to our storage.
Emanuel Perrotin of Perrotin Gallery said in a statement provided to Artsy:
It has been nearly one year since we presented Maurizio Cattelan’s 'Comedian' on Perrotin’s Art Basel booth. We are so fortunate that it has entered into one of the world’s most prestigious collections, and I am humbled by the thoughtful words from Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong as well as the New York Times articles that have outlined the art historical importance of the work. It is a singular piece of conceptual art and I am so proud to see that conviction echoed by so many. I am so happy for Maurizio and proud of all that we have accomplished throughout nearly three decades.
According to Artsy data, inquiries on Cattelan’s work on the platform more than quadrupled, month over month, in December 2019, when Comedian had its viral premiere at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

Update: September 21st, 2020

This article has been updated to incorporate a statement from Emmanuel Perrotin.

Further Reading: The 10 Best Booths at Art Basel in Miami Beach

Further Reading: Revisiting Maurizio Cattelan’s Sculpture of the Pope Struck by a Meteorite