Rebellion is in the air. At the same time that the House of Representatives has risen against abuses by president Tump with articles of impeachment, the art world experienced its own insurrection at abuses in the market place.

Art lesson

After conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan duct-taped a banana to an exhibit wall at Art Basel in Miami Beach and sold it for $120,000, performance artist David Datuna ate the banana to suggest that this is what the art world has become - a silly joke. Cattelan even titled his banana, Comedian.

And in a sense, Datuna made the same joke. As art critic Jonathan Jones put it in The Guardian, the banana show is "making fun of the art market."

All that glitters is not gold

Catellan is the same artist who made another joke in 2017 with his 18-carat-gold toilet at the Guggenheim Museum that he titled America. In a press release at the time, the museum said the gilded throne recalls "the gold excesses of Trump's real-estate ventures and private residence." Excess in the art world is the message in both Catellan's Comedian and America.

Giving meaning to the meaningless

According to CBS News, Comedian was "the most talked-about artwork at Miami's. As if to explain why, gallery founder at Miami Art Basel, Emmanuel Perroti told CBS, "The spectacle is as much a part of the work as the banana. His work forces us to question how value is placed on material goods."

The money game

Critic Jones takes the question farther saying, "Comedian at Miami Art Basel takes this sophisticated trade fair out of the in-crowd world into the mainstream." The fact that the banana was stuck to the wall with duct tape also adds to the banality, he said.

And the crowd ate it up and took selfies. Jones added, "Cattelan’s toilet mocked the money-obsessed art world by being potentially more valuable for its raw material than its concept – reflecting a market that can turn shit to gold. His banana makes the same joke the other way round by being glaringly not worth its asking price."

Eating a banana beats doing nothing

But while Cattelan gets the credit for trying to save the art world from itself, performance artist Datuna nailed the point when he ripped the banana taped to the wall and ate it.

Certainly, his performance has more meaning than fellow performance artist Magdalena Abramovicz who sat silent, still and staring in 2010 - for eight hours every day for almost three months - at a reported 1,000 Museum of Modern Art visitors who stared back at her. She called her exhibit "The Artist is Present." It was hard to tell.

With a stunt like that, it's a wonder that rebellion in the ranks didn't come sooner.

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"A little rebellion now and then," wrote Thomas Jefferson, "is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." You could say the same thing about the art world.

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