Couple Who Bought $120,000 Banana Duct-Taped to Wall Are Aware of Artwork's 'Blatant Absurdity'

A Miami couple who bought a banana duct-taped to a wall from artist Maurizio Cattelan for $120,000 have said they are aware of the artwork's "blatant absurdity."

Billy and Beatrice Cox told Page Six that they were inspired to buy the piece, titled Comedian, at Art Basel Miami after seeing the stir it created globally when it was displayed last week.

"We are acutely aware of the blatant absurdity of the fact that Comedian is an otherwise inexpensive and perishable piece of produce and a couple of inches of duct tape," the couple said.

"We knew we were taking a risk, but ultimately we sense that Cattelan's banana will become an iconic historical object," the Cox family added.

In another statement to the Miami Herald, the couple said they see the humorous artwork "as a unicorn in the art world" and were awed that "people who usually would not have been so interested in art wanted to see 'the banana.'" They added, "It has opened the floodgates and morphed into an important debate about the value that we place on works of art and objects in general."

According to Page Six, the art collectors will replace the banana in the piece every two day "when it's ripe."

The Herald added they hope to loan Comedian to a major museum so it can be seen by the masses.

Billy Cox is a member of the Bancroft family who sold their sales in Dow Jones & Company, publishers of the Wall Street Journal, to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for over $1.2 billion in 2007.

Maurizio Cattelan Comedian banana
People pose in front of Maurizio Cattelan's "Comedian" presented by Perrotin Gallery and on view at Art Basel Miami 2019 at Miami Beach Convention Center on December 6, 2019 in Miami Beach, Florida. Two of the three editions of the piece, which feature a banana duct-taped to a wall, have reportedly sold for $120,000. Cindy Ord/Getty

The ripe history of bananas duct-taped to wall

The edition of Comedian purchased by the Cox family is one of three produced by Cattelan. Two other editions were also on sale at Art Basel.

The artwork caused a stir when it was first displayed by the Paris art gallery Perrotin last week.

On Saturday, performance artist David Datuna ripped the banana off the wall at Art Basel and ate it—dubbing the action a piece of performance art called Hungry Artist.

Datuna shared a video of the moment on Instagram:

"I love Maurizio Cattelan artwork and I really love this installation. It's very delicious," Datuna wrote in a caption.

On Sunday, the wall where the artwork had once been displayed was vandalized by a man who scrawled "Epstien (sic) didn't kill himself" in red lipstick where the banana had once been.

As for the lifespan of the artwork, a spokesperson for the Perrotin gallery previously told Newsweek that the perishable banana on display can be changed without affecting Comedian's value or authenticity, because the banana itself is a concept. A certificate of authenticity is what gives the work its value.

"Certificates of authenticity are crucial in the buying and selling of conceptual art. Comedian has a COA that contains exact instructions for installation and authenticates that the work is by Maurizio Cattelan. Without a COA, a piece of conceptual artwork is nothing more than its material representation," Perrotin spokesperson Katherine Wisniewski said.

The Cox family could not be reached for comment.