The Art Basel banana made some waves last year after this artwork (yes, a ripe banana taped to the wall was pegged as art) gained three buyers who actually paid anywhere from $120,000 to $150,000 for it.
Who says there’s no money in art?
Watch to learn more of the art fruit stand.
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Video credit: Rumble
But not to be outdone, the Whitney but up its own answer to the Art Basel banana: a fruit stand with all sorts of produce on it by artist Darren Bader. They call the display “fruits, vegetables; fruit and vegetable salad” and earned a few giggles when it debuted on January 15, 2019 at the eighth-floor gallery.
The artwork is comprised of 40 wooden pedestals with each one holding one type of fruit or vegetable. One had a wrinkly avocado while another one had a stalk of corn.
Since the display isn’t cordoned off by ropes or glass, you can get as close as you like. Just don’t touch or squeeze them no matter how enticingly ripe they might look. You’re not inside a grocery store, after all!
The museum constantly changes the produce that is on display but there will always be a mix of exotic and ordinary fruits and vegetables, says the Whitney’s Christie Mitchell.
“Darren’s instructions guide you, but they don’t specify anything particular,” she says. “He’s interested in a balance between fruits and vegetables, and as many varieties as possible.”
The goods are purchased from Fresh Direct and the Manhattan Fruit Exchange at Chelsea Market. Every two days, one of the museum’s art handlers heads over to buy a new batch and the previously-displayed produce is made into a salad.
The salads are made on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Sunday afternoons and Friday evenings in full view so anyone who cares to try them can get free samples.
“We had a dress rehearsal Tuesday,” says Mitchell, as she plucked a price tag off a pomegranate. “It was delicious!”
Bader actually sold the museum the art concept five years ago and Mitchell insists that it wasn’t a response to Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 banana. That particular fruit caused a sensation at Miami’s Art Basel show last year.
Mitchell says the display is “funny and serious at the same time. It’s about context and appreciating produce for what it is — and it’s beautiful.”
And so far, the response has been good.
Sam Buchbauer, a recent law grad, saw the show with a friend and said, “We were intrigued by that banana at Art Basel. Now we get to see a whole grocery!”
Nicola Boxall, a potter from Connecticut, added: “It’s beautiful. I’m just sorry we’re not going to be here for the salad.”