(SKY NEWS) – A banana duct-taped to a wall has been sold by an artist for $120,000 (£91,000).
The installation by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan went on display at the Art Basel Miami Beach exhibition this week.
Organisers say two editions of the work, called Comedian, each sold for around $120,000 (£91,000) – and the price of a third edition has now reportedly been raised to $150,000 (£114,000).
Cattelan previously created the solid gold toilet stolen from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire earlier this year.
A spokeswoman for Art Basel Miami Beach told Sky News: “After a 15-year hiatus, Maurizio has returned to the international art fair, and we are so fortunate to collaborate with him.
“The banana is many things – a symbol of global trade, a witty double entendre, and a classic device for humour.
“Maurizio takes mundane objects and transforms them into vehicles of both delight and critique.”
Art journalist Sarah Cascone said the artwork was the “talk of the town in Miami right now”.
The first edition was sold to a French woman, while the second edition was snapped up by Frenchman, according to art market website Artnet.
Cattelan – who picked the banana for his artwork from a Miami supermarket – has reportedly decided to sell the third edition to a museum, with two institutions already having expressed interest.
He told Artnet he had been working on the idea for about a year and first created versions in bronze and resin.
He said: “Wherever I was travelling I had this banana on the wall. I couldn’t figure out how to finish it.
“In the end, one day I woke up and I said ‘the banana is supposed to be a banana’.”
Gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin, who has worked with Cattelan for more than 25 years, dismissed the idea that the artwork is a joke, telling Artnet that every aspect of the work was carefully considered, from the shape of the fruit, to the angle it has been fixed with duct tape to the wall, to its placement.
Comedian is sold with a certificate of authenticity and owners can replace the banana as needed, the Miami Herald reported.