FCB, banana help Glad transform art into charity

With help from FCB Chicago, Glad put a banana in a Flex’n Seal bag, taped it on a wall, and called it #ProtectedBanana to comfort the less fortunate.

Shared in a December 12 Instagram post, the suspended yellow fruit is the centerpiece of a charity auction to generate funds for the Alameda County Community Food Bank, a thirty-year-old nonprofit dedicated to “ending hunger and poverty” that distributes “millions of healthy meals every year.”

Since appearing on eBay, #ProtectedBanana has generated 21 bids that have pushed the going price up to $105. It will be up for auction until Sunday at 4:20 p.m.


Peeling the banana
Although the whole thing sounds kind of silly (4:20!), it’s not without precedent. The stunt is an homage to Comedian, an artwork by Maurizio Cattelan on display at Galerie Perrotin’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Art Basel is an annual event where galleries from around the world showcase the work of current and emerging artists. Depending on who you talk to, it is an awesome, annoying, and/or vain exhibition of creativity for sale.

The man behind the banana seems to believe all three. Perrotin, an Italian artist and absurdist, used to tape bananas on hotel walls for inspiration while traveling. He used a real banana in Comedian after experimenting with resin, bronze, and painted bronze.

Since he’s also the guy who once put a fully functioning gold toilet in a Guggenheim exhibit called America, it’s not exactly clear which classification the banana piece belongs to: art, absurdity, or both?

In the opinion of Half Gallery owner and art dealer Bill Powers, the Basel crowd is fine either way.

The genius of the banana
“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,” Powers told Vogue’s Elise Taylor. “Was it Warhol who said, ‘Art is whatever you can get away with’? Case in point.”

Speaking of bananas and Warhol, let’s devote some space to his legendary design for the Velvet Underground’s first album (right), which pre-dates the current Art Basel sensation by half a century.

Buying the banana
Cattelan’s Comedian began fueling admirers, imitators, and jokers the moment it appeared on social media, but that did not deter wealthy Basel attendees. According reports cited in Taylor’s story, two editions “went for $120,000 before the price was raised to $150,000.”

That’s a thousand times more than the current asking price of Glad’s #ProtectedBanana, which is using the same energy to help the Alameda County Community Food Bank.

Reel Chicago readers can place their bids, by clicking here.

Credits — FCB Chicago
Chief Creative Officer: Andrés Ordóñez
Executive Creative Director: Lisa Bright
Creative Director: Dean Paradise
Associate Creative Director: Rodolfo Fernandes, Ricardo Salgado
Senior Copywriter: Wojtek Kowalik
Senior Art Director: Mateus Cerqueira
Executive Creative Producer: John Bleeden
Managing Director: Kadi Jacobs
Account Supervisor: Erin Hudec
Director of Strategic Planning: Katie Lowman
Senior Strategic Planner: Megan Ciurczak

Send your creative updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.