Update, December 11, 2019: And now a Brooklyn pizzeria has duct-taped a pizza to the wall. It, too, is being billed as a work of art, though at $100,000, it’s $20,000 less than the Art Basel banana and Popeyes chicken sandwich. So it’s a bargain!
Michael Ayoub, owner of Fornino’s Pizza in Greenpoint, created the installation on his restaurant wall, Brooklyn Paper reports. He calls it, simply, “Pizza.” The medium is a plain margherita, which he replaces every day for hygiene reasons.
Brooklyn Paper notes that Ayoub is also an accomplished artist and has displayed his work in Fornino’s before, though he usually works in blown glass. He’s charging less for “Pizza” than the works that inspired it out of modesty. “I wanted to put the price a little lower because I’m not as well-known of an artist.”
No one has yet expressed interest in “Pizza.” Apparently Brooklyn is a tougher audience than Art Basel.
“There was this family,” Ayoub told Brooklyn Paper, “and the kid says, ‘daddy daddy the pizza is on the wall’ and the father goes, ‘it’s a very long story.’”
Yes, kid, it is. It is.
Original post, December 10, 2019: When historians one day reflect on the year that was 2019, they will be forced to talk at least a little about the Popeyes chicken sandwich. Now, in the final weeks of the year, we have the tweet that future generations might say defined our society:
Earlier this week at Art Basel, three bananas were duct-taped to a wall and were sold for $120,000 per banana. As explained by people who understand art, the buyers paid well over twice the average American household income not for the actual banana duct-taped to a wall, but for the idea of a banana duct-taped to a wall. Fortunately for the rest of the world’s art collectors, those buyers do not own the idea of duct-taping a chicken sandwich to a wall, so this Popeyes installation, it seems, is fair game.
If you’re planning on displaying perishable food in your house as art, you might want to make sure the idea is original. (Yoko Ono famously presented a decomposing apple at London’s Indica Gallery in 1966, so those are off the table.) As for the conceptual artists out there, they should hurry to debut their installations before other major brands get a whiff of what Popeyes has done, or else every gallery wall across America will be taken up by packages of Steak-umms.
The potential upside of this stunt is that if the chicken sandwich sells, Popeyes—which made many, many millions of dollars off the chicken sandwich thanks to many, many millions of dollars in free press—is planning to donate the $120,003.99 to their in-house charity The Popeyes Foundation, which “strengthen[s] our communities with food and support in times of need.”