December 9, 2019
If every edition of Art Basel in Miami Beach was titled like a Friends episode, the 2019 edition was indisputably “The One with the Banana.”
Maurizio Cattelan taped the fruit to Perrotin’s booth, creating a truly bonkers frenzy. The work, titled Comedian (2019), landed a front-page New York Post story and spurred so many selfies that the gallery eventually had to put up stanchions to control the queue of people who wanted a picture with the banana. Perrotin started a meme account on Instagram. Three editions, priced between $120,000 and $150,000 sold. On Saturday, performance artist David Datuna tore the banana off the wall and ate it. Perrotin replaced the banana, then announced on Sunday morning that it was removing the artwork from its booth because it was disrupting the fair environment. Gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin himself then ate the banana. And in the empty space, a man vandalized the booth with lipstick, writing “Epstien [sic] didn’t kill himself.” Police arrested him on charges of criminal mischief.