It has come to my attention that a conceptual artist named Maurizio Cattelan exhibited a banana fastened to a wall with duct tape at this year's Miami Basel, and that it speedily became the cynosure of all eyes. Also that The New York Times was so fascinated by this situation that it devoted not one but two full-length stories to it. One of these stories, by Jason Farago, made the home page of the online edition of the Times, and garnered 724 comments as a result.
Two of these comments were mine. The first, very brief one was to regret that Farago was fixating on the Cattelan and ignoring the good art that so I understand was also on display at Miami Basel. The second, rather longer, was a "reply" to a "reply" by C. Jama Adams, who was questioning my definition of good art, and whom I took to be a young female artist since there was a plug for that artist's next and apparently very pop-art oriented work of art at the end.
However, there is a limit to how long a "comment" in the Times can be, and though I used my allotted space all up, I feel I didn't say everything that needed to be said – not least, about the complex and not entirely negative relationship between esthetics and mainstream journalism.
This, I think, is a subject better dealt with in an independent column such as this one, rather than in the "comments" department of the Times itself, so that is what I propose to do. My working title (with apologies to Sigmund Freud):" "Bananas, Duct Tape and Their Relation to The New York Times."
However, this is only an advance promo, as there are two exhibitions of art in Manhattan galleries that I would like to cover before they go down: Elie Nadelman at Paul Kasmin and Larry Zox at Berry-Campbell. As they are both going down before Christmas, I need to review them while people can still get to see them, and my disquisition on bananas & duct tape will therefore have to wait….