Michael Fernandes, Banana Artist

I should have mentioned this in my notes on the latest issue of Funny Times, since I learned about it there.  Anyway, here’s the report from Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird:

Great Art!

Artist Michael Fernandes’ exhibit in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in June caused a commotion because it was merely a banana on a gallery’s window sill, and Fernandes had it priced at $2,500 (Cdn) (down from his original thought, $15,000). Actually, Fernandes changed bananas every day (eating the old one), placing progressively greener ones out to demonstrate the banana’s transitoriness. “We (humans) are also temporal, but we live as if we are not,” he wrote. Despite the steep price, two collectors placed holds on the “work,” requiring the gallery’s co-owner, Victoria Page, to get assurance from callers. “It’s a banana; you understand that it’s a banana?” [Globe and Mail (Toronto), 7-2-08]

The installation was the target of a crime when a “prankster” broke into the gallery and replaced the banana with an apple and a handwritten note.  Here‘s the gallery’s site devoted to the exhibition.  In 1992, Fernandes gave this interview and published it in a book of his.

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8 Comments

  1. cymast

     /  October 1, 2008

    Yes, I understand it’s art, but $2,500-$15,000? For a banana?? And I would argue that it is no longer art once it’s removed from the gallery. I don’t know who should be more embarrassed- Fernandes or the banana collectors. It’s not like that’s the only thing he’s selling . .

  2. acilius

     /  October 2, 2008

    It certainly wouldn’t be the work of art Fernandes created if it were removed. I suppose someone who loved the show might want it as a souvenir, the way people want props from their favorite movies/ TV shows/ whatever as souvenirs. But what would it mean to preserve a keepsake of a meditation on impermanence? I don’t get it.

  3. cymast

     /  October 2, 2008

    I suppose the banana lover could eat the banana, as Fernandes does, and the impermanent banana and the banana lover would become one, impermanently. Such an expensive point to make!

    How this for a performance art piece- stand in front of a crowd and say, “I’m art. Now I’m not art. Now I’m art. Now I’m not art. Now I’m art . . “

  4. acilius

     /  October 2, 2008

    Hey, that’s an idea! Not just anyone could do it, though. If the performer’s name were Art, then it would become a pun.

  5. believer1

     /  October 7, 2008

    I just want to say in case anyone out there is interested, I will gladly put a banana in my window every day and will sale it at any time! I could really use the money for school.

    Come on folks! That’s not art werth paying a penny for. you can call whatever you want art but that doesn’t mean you sould be able to get rich off of something like puting a banana in a window.

  6. cymast

     /  October 7, 2008

    And here I was going to put some onions (to be original) on top of my refrigerator (again, original) and then sell them! Well!

  7. acilius

     /  October 7, 2008

    When I was in high school I once glued some eggshells to a board as an attempt at conceptual art. It was kind of interesting looking, but in order to keep them from rotting I would have had to treat them in some way. So I finally threw them out.

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