July 29, 2023

Art Style: Installations

Banana With Duct Tape

The backstory: At Art Basel in Miami, Florida in 2019, Italian absurdist artist Maurizio Cattelan’s Duchampian conceptual piece titled Comedian (better known to the masses by the key search words “Art Basel Banana”) went viral. The piece is essentially this: a real banana duct taped to the Art Basel gallery wall. “The genius of Cattelan’s banana is that it draws out the mainstream media’s suspicion that all contemporary art is a type of emperor’s new clothes foisted on rich people,” ( – gallery owner and art dealer Bill Powers, Vogue) The story goes that two editions of the piece sold for a whopping $120,000 a piece. In an additional mind-blowing layer of meta conceptual art, on the morning of December 7, performance artist David Datuna casually removed the banana from the wall and ate it. He titled his piece Hungry Artist, and said that he would have eaten the $120K banana sooner, but he wasn’t hungry yet. When asked how the banana tasted he was reported as having said, “It tasted like $120,000.”

Shane Grammar caught wind of the famed Miami banana and he knew he had to create a sculpture as a sort-of homage to the piece. He took great delight in the novelty of seeing a giant banana duct taped to the side of a wall. Shane initially created several two-foot long prototypes of Cattelan’s banana, and had them mounted in public places only to have them stolen shortly thereafter. He knew then that he would need to recreate the piece on a larger scale, and mount it even higher to deter any potential thievery. Shane got to work, and in about a week, completed the five-foot tall banana with duct tape, which was constructed of sculpted foam over a steel frame finished with hard coat spray and painted to look like a real banana. The sculpted banana was then mounted on the wall forty feet off the ground on the corner of The Bank in downtown J Street in Sacramento, California. “I just had to do it,” Shane laughed, “because I don’t think there’s ever been a five-foot banana hanging forty feet off the side of a building.”