I know this is a leap, but the latest news about the duct-taped banana artist Maurizio Cattelan brought to mind the last line in the old war movie "The Bridge on the River Kwai."

Remember? That's when a POW medic, shocked by what he sees in battle, screams, "Madness! Madness!" My thought exactly on reading that Cattelan's new show in Beijing is breaking attendance records.

War is Hell

Is the battle that his fans are seeing his war against art? How else to explain the huge success of his duct-taped banana that debuted in Art Basel in Miami Beach and sold for $120,000?

And that's not the end of it.

The Beijing show at the Center for Contemporary Art is such a hit that more visitors were counted than at this museum's previous Andy Warhol exhibit, and nearing the record, 350,000 visitors to a Picasso show there.

When a banana bests Brillo boxes and the bombing of Guernica, you know that the history of art is over and in its place are what's left. The dregs – the spoils of his war against art.

As he told Artnet, "People think about me when they see a banana." To ensure that no one forgets that image, his duct-taped banana is included in this Beijing show, and clearly, it has the intended effect.

Banana split

Vivienne Chow, reporting for Artnet, said people in Beijing have duct-taped objects to walls around town "in his honor." Uh-huh.

He's that big there. But to hear him tell it to Chow, it's pure "luck" that he's popular.

Cattelan said he couldn't understand why his show was attracting more visitors than Warhol in the same exhibit space. The way he sees Warhol, "he was Cartier, and I am Swatch."

Is that what Cattelan thinks his show amounts to – a disposable watch?

The answer seems couched in this quote he gave Chow "You can have fun while delivering a serious thought."

"Serious thought"? Really? OK, let's consider one of his exhibit examples titled "The Last Judgment." What you see is a photograph of the artist sticking his head out of a hole in the ground.

Is this his idea of the end of time when the damned are cast into Hell?

How else to explain him stuck below the surface of the earth. By the bland facial expression, he's at peace with his fate. Where's the joke?

Get comfortable

He told Chow, "Every time you give the audience something they can immediately recognize, you make them happy because they feel comfortable." Ah, so, get comfy with Hell, then? That can't be.

Obviously, Cattelan's "Last Judgment" is far and away from Michelangelo's version, where more than 300 people wait to be sent either to Heaven or Hell, all with worry on their faces.

In the hole, he doesn't look worried. Is that his message? If he's as serious as he says, perhaps his Last Judgment is like Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" – showing faith seen in a fresh way.

Or not. Cattelan told Artnet, 'I think this is what Jeff Koons did in a more expensive way with his Rabbit." Does he mean that $91.1 million sales of Koon's oversized stainless steel rodent? Come on!

Did I mention that Cattelan is also the "artist" who fashioned the toilet made of solid gold for a show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York? What will he come up with next? Does it even matter?