1 EAGLETON NOTES: Art? Really?

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Friday, 6 December 2019

Art? Really?

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s work, Comedian, a piece of fruit duct-taped to a wall, has been snapped up at Art Basel in Miami for $120,000. One in a series of three, a second version of the piece has also been sold for a similar price.


Am I the only one who remains unconvinced?

54 comments:

  1. If Cattelan had created an exact replica of a banana using resin for example I might have been slightly convinced of the work's merit but it seems it was a real piece of fruit just taped to the wall. Didn't the purchaser realise that the banana will be black and almost rotten in a week? I like to think that I am quite open-minded about modern art but "Comedian" is nonsensical, self-indulgent crap that sullies the very meaning of the word "Art".

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    1. Being a man of limited vocabulary I might not have thought of those exact words, YP, but I do not disagree with you.

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    2. Cattelan did use and create a resin banana. He has just eaten the banana he sold but presumably not the Duck Tape. It is all a bit silly when one can get loads for two quid in any supermarket. I think it's crap but a pot of paint can be turned into something magical. He will get better or worse. That's art.

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  2. And then it will rot. Some people are idiots.

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  3. Well, I wouldn't buy even for the price of the banana!

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    1. Me neither, Red, you never know what stated the banana would be in.

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  4. Art? No. Garbage? Yes. And count me as an art lover.

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  5. It sounds like the artist was snubbing his nose at everyone and laughing into his sleeve, making a bit of a point about how stupid people will pay large amounts of money for absolutely nothing. No wonder he called the piece Comedian. He must be laughing all the way to the bank!

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    1. Margaret, I'm sure he is laughing all the way to the bank.

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  6. I was sad to see that even this year's RA Summer Show included quite a lot of rubbish. Standards are slipping all over. Yesterday I bought half a dozen Bananas for €1.32.

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    1. Cro, some would say that art is constantly changing and that there is no such thing as rubbish if it makes you think. I disagree. I have a painting of roses that was hung in the RA many many years ago. I have never thought it was much to write home about but my mother (who was a reasonably competent pictureist -I'm not sure she would have called herself an artist) liked it apart from it's sentimental value. Sometimes a work of art speaks to me and sometimes it doesn't.

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  7. Not art at all..... but I bet the "artist" is having aa good laugh at the expense of those he has been able to con into believing it is. Talk about the Emperor's New Clothes !!!

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    1. Helsie, I sometimes wonder what artists or 'artists' do think in circumstances like that. I'd be happy if I could persuade someone to give me that sort of money.

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  8. This man cannot be serious - to paraphrase John McEnroe.
    Is this a hoax or fake news?
    Really, I can think of a few words to put in the comment box. My choice today: fools and their money are soon parted.
    Alphie

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    1. Alphie, In this case your quotation is, it seems to me, very apt because the 'artwork' will in effect, cease to exist very quickly. Indeed by now it will have rotted.

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  9. Imagination. I rather like it. I have a framed pinecone hanging on my wall. Looks like time to do a painting of it.

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    1. Maywyn, your pinecone has existence and will last to give you visual pleasure. The $120,000 'Comedian' is transient.

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  10. The name "Comedian" fits perfectly.

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  11. I read the news article too, it's not just you I don't get it either. Mind you quite a few years ago an award was won by an artist who had simply tipped over a rubbish bin and had announced the trash that fell out of it was art, apparently they won an award for it - nah I still don't understand it.

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    1. Amy, I didn't see the one you mentioned but I wouldn't have understood that either.

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  12. Here I am hunting for inspiration for a Christmas video. Sod it a banana will do.

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  13. Cattelan made it in resin first but thought it was dull and dead looking and then he realised that a real banana was much better. Like Duchamp's Fountain (a urinal) in 1917 it is thought provoking and the fact that you have written this post means in some ways that it succeeds. Each person will attach whatever interpretation they like to it as with all art be it a painting of a North Norfolk creek and a boat or a banana stuck on a wall but it has made you think. In fact in times like we are in worldwide today to reduce it all to a banana stuck on a wall, a globally known object of fruit, traded and exchanged, is indeed rather clever in my opinion.

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    1. Rachel, one of the very first questions I faced from the lecturer when I did my initial degree was "Is Public Administration an Art or a Science". I'm sure that academics are still arguing over it today. I was never sure that it mattered and whilst arguing my corner (whatever it was) I realised that the aim of the lecturer was to get us thinking and presenting a case. Whether it was an art or science didn't matter.

      The argument that if an object makes someone think then it must be art is, to me, a non sequitur: it does not follow. I used the heading 'Art? Really?' because I thought it was more catchy than 'Worth $120,000?'. I commented on this not so much because it could not be art but because, in this case, I don't think it is art.

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    2. I think it a case of if he says it is art then it is art and in the context of Art Basel and the fact that he is a well known artist and this is one of his latest conceptual works then it is most definitely art.

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    3. He has now eaten the banana but the piece of work is authenticated by the artist and a different banana can be used for future exhibitions. Cattelan is known for his comic pieces and one of his recent works was a gold toilet entitled America. It was stolen from Blenheim Palace where it was on display and is thought to have now been melted down.

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    4. I saw that another artist had decided to eat the banana "as a work of art". Hey ho.I remember the gold toilet incident.

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  14. Replies
    1. That's a succinct reply, JayCee and made me smile.

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  15. A friend of mine made a response that will last longer... https://www.carolyntillie.com/jewelry/maurizio-cattlelans-comedian-earrings?fbclid=IwAR1bXVo0n2vLKYx7zS8VB_L4QSAm_5vmH3XXoJ_p9wvOBwWQblYWUp73M7I

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    1. Unknown, I would usually have deleted your comment without even reading it as I do with most 'Unknown' or 'Anonymous' comments. However for some reason after examining the URL I decide that it was worth looking at. I'm glad that I did. I'm now wondering if in fact the earrings are art.

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  16. Personally I think the angle of the tape is wrong.

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    1. Now that you mention it, CJ, you may have a point.

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  17. Methinks that banana looks expired rather than inspired... Have to say that personally, to appreciate something as a work of art, I have to recognize that at least it has taken some effort to create (not just self-assurance).

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  18. shall tape a guga to an Lanntair's gallery wall

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    1. Well, Andrea, at least no one would go near enough to eat it raw.

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  19. I read about this in yesterday's Sunday paper...and I couldn't believe what I was reading and seeing! I'm seriously thinking about nailing a mango to a piece of timber. The bananas I have are a little too ripe to tape to the wall. I've a huge mango here that I was going to devour later today...but there is money to be made, and $120,000.00 is not to be scoffed at. This large mango would surely be worth more than that, too!!

    On closer examination, I agree with Scriptor Senx re the tape. Maybe the "artist" was trying to express a hidden meaning...something we who don't have an appreciation for true art are unable to appreciate...hmmmmmmm

    Dammit! I'm going to eat my mango!!

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    1. Well, Lee, another artist has just eaten the banana!

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  20. Without knowing much about the artist, I am unable to assess whether the banana casts a fascinating light on to their work or anything like that... but it will be much changed in a few months' time, so I do find it hard to know what the purchaser thinks they are ultimately getting for their money. The experience of spending money on something they don't need? The experience of watching something decay without having to tape it to the wall themselves? (In brief, I too am unconvinced!)

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    1. Jenny, the artist is quite controversial (which I think is a way of saying that you can produce rubbish, declare it as art and get paid handsomely) and includes the gold toilet that was stolen. The banana has now been eaten by another artist "as a work of art".

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  21. The whole thing is an exercise in lessons.

    1. Too much money makes people stupid.
    2. People will do idiotic things to seem relevant to people that don't care one iota about them.
    3. Fame is like death. Do you really want to get there because you did something stupid?
    4. People will spend insane amounts of money on nothing, but they won't spend $5 to buy a homeless person a sandwich.
    5. Art, like love, and beauty, and music, and other magic things, cannot be quantified or dictated. Just because someone says it's art (or love, or beauty, or music) does not make it so. If money is involved, that makes it much less likely to be so.

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    1. Well, Marcheline, your philosophy is certainly clear and, on the whole, one I would not wish to argue with.

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  22. Like the banana in a few days it is rotten Art.

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  23. The Emperor has no clothes!

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