Art Basel: '$150,000 banana piece' is gone

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - People post in front of Maurizio Cattelan's "Comedian" presented by Perrotin Gallery and on view at Art Basel Miami 2019 at Miami Beach Convention Center. Image Credit: AFP

A infamous $150,000 banana duct-taped to a wall has disappeared again - this time because it was becoming an unsafe distraction.

"We sincerely apologise to all the visitors of the fair who today will not be able to participate in Comedian," Galerie Perrotin, where the work was being showcased, said in a statement Sunday, the last day of the exhibition.

The Comedian is the name of the work by the Italian artist provocateur Maurizio Cattelan, composed of a ripe-ish banana, duct tape and a 14-page manual for its installation and upkeep.

If art is a living thing, then the piece evolved Saturday when another artist provocateur named David Datuna unpeeled tape and skin and ate the banana.

"Art performance," he said. He was a "hungry artist," adding that it was "delicious."

Initial price: $120,000, bid up to $150,000. Two bananas went to museums.

In its statement, Art Basel thanked the security guards who helped control the lines to see the banana - or the concept of transience of oblong yellow fruit or something. Enough was enough.

"The installation caused several uncontrollable crowd movements and the placement of the work on our booth compromised the safety of the artwork around us, including that of our neighbours," the statement said.

"Comedian, with its simple composition, ultimately offered a complex reflection of ourselves," it said.

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