The Economic Times

From Rare Pokemon Cards To Empty Frames, Bizarre Pieces Of Artwork That Were Sold For Millions

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Banana + Duct Tape = Magic!
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Banana + Duct Tape = Magic!

An artwork called ‘Comedian’ created by an Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, which was recently sold for a whopping $121,000 (approximately Rs. 86.07 lakhs), has become the talk of the town.

The artwork, to everyone’s surprise, was a mere banana held against the wall using a duct tape. The rather puzzling piece of art being sold for such a massive amount, left the netizens scratching their heads in amazement. Things took a rather dramatic turn when performance artist David Datuna ended up taking the banana off the wall and eating it while the artwork was on display at an international gallery, Perrotin, at Art Basel in Miami.

However, the banana-duct tape ensemble is not the only bizarre piece of artwork that has made a massive amount of money. Several ridiculous and weird pieces of artwork have been sold for millions of dollars in the last decade. Here are some of them.

Agencies
No More Red Flags
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No More Red Flags

It is a popular saying that when you look at the world through rose-tinted glasses, you might end up missing out on some red flags. Gerhard Richter, a German visual artist, created a unique piece of artwork, which was essentially a mirror, painted in red.

In October 2012, Richter's Abstraktes Bild set an auction record price for a painting by a living artist at £21m ($34m, approximately Rs, 3.4 crores). This was exceeded in May 2013 when his 1968 piece Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral square, Milan) sold for $37.1 million (£24.4 million, approximately Rs. 2.44 crores) in New York.

Seems like Richter wanted to paint the town red, after all!

Gotta Catch ‘Em All!
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Gotta Catch ‘Em All!

Pokemon is the global phenomenon that has taken the world by storm and back in the previous decade, several people were fond of collecting Pokemon cards and tazos. However, there was one sought-after, coveted card which was sold at an auction for $224,500 (approximately Rs. 1.59 crores) according to gaming news site, Kotaku.

What’s so special about the card, you ask? The card was special because it was handed out as a prize in the competitions in the year 1998. Only 39 of these cards were made, making them very rare.

Home, Sweet Home?
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Home, Sweet Home?

Being away from home for long durations can be quite a daunting feeling. To cure us of overpowering feelings of homesickness, British artist Tracey Emin came up with an artwork called ‘My Bed’ in 1998.

‘My Bed’, consisted of Emin’s bed full of soiled bedsheets stained with bodily secretions, condoms, knickers with menstrual blood stains and everyday objects like slippers. ‘My Bed’ was bought by Charles Saatchi for £150,000 (approximately Rs. 1.4 crore) and displayed as part of the first exhibition when the Saatchi Gallery opened its new premises at County Hall, London.

Art Or Feces?
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Art Or Feces?

If you feel bizarre pieces of Modern Art were a rarity in the 20th Century, you’re wrong. In 1961, an Italian artist Piero Manzoni, created a piece of art that raised several eyebrows. Called, ‘Artist’s Shit’, the artwork by Manzoni consists of 90 tin cans filled with feces.

Each can weighs around 30 grams. The most bizarre and confusing fact about ‘Artist’s Shit’, is that a single tin of the ‘artwork’ was sold for €124,000 (approximately Rs. 97.57 lakhs) on Sotheby, one of the largest brokers of fine and decorative art on May 23, 2007.

Another can was sold in October 2008 for £97,250 (approximately Rs. 91.12 lakhs). Needless to say, the buyers spent a humongous amount on..err...a piece of crap.

‘Poop’ Art
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‘Poop’ Art

Venus de Milo is a popular ancient Greek statue located in Louvre Museum. Zhu Cheng, one of China’s most renowned sculptors, helped nine art students recreate Venus de Milo’s statue using excrement. It is placed in a transparent box at Henan Art Museum in Zhengzhou city, China, so that the spell of poop doesn’t drive everyone away.

The statue was purchased by a Swiss art collector for a staggering 300,000 yuan ($45,113 approximately Rs. 32.09 lakhs).

iStock
Blasphemy And Sacrilege
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Blasphemy And Sacrilege

Every piece of artwork, it is often argued, should push the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable in the society. The piece of artwork called ‘Piss Christ’, by the American artist and photographer Andres Serrano, pushed the boundaries a little too far.

‘Piss Christ’, is essentially a photograph of the Crucifix,a holy Christian symbol submerged in the artist’s urine. To no one’s surprise, the piece of ‘art’ caused a massive outrage and major controversy, with Serrano receiving death threats and hate mail. However, the bizarre artwork received a funding of $15,000 (Rs.10.67 lakhs) from the taxpayer’s money.

Several others alleged that the government funding of the artwork violated the principle of separation of Church and State.

Error 404: Art Not Found
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Error 404: Art Not Found

If you are a fan of big blank walls in your home and workspace, chances are, you would absolutely adore the ‘non-existent’ art sold by Museum of Non-Visible Art, based in New York. The people behind the museum, call the art ‘non-visible’.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the artworks are essentially pieces of empty frames. The art exists only in the imagination of the artist. As per a report by npr.org, a woman in 2011, paid $10,000 (Rs. 7.11 lakhs) for a piece called ‘fresh art’ by the museum.

Looks like the museum took the popular quote ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’ too literally.

Garbage Souvenirs
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Garbage Souvenirs

This piece of artwork was created out of a bet placed among a bunch of friends. Justin Gignac, was a New York-based artist who was often belittled by his co-workers because he stood for the importance of package design. That was when Gignac took it upon himself to prove his co-workers wrong.

Gignac came up with a souvenir which is essentially a nicely-packaged cube containing garbage from New York City. In no time, people started viewing the souvenirs as a piece of art, thereby proving Gignac’s point. The cubes were sold for as high as $50-$100 (approximately Rs. 3,550- Rs. 7,113).

Love For Cheetos
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Love For Cheetos

Everybody loves snacking on Cheetos, but for Andy Huot, a mechanical engineer from Louisville, Kentucky, every bag of Cheetos contains uniquely shaped curls which can be used to re-enact creative scenes. Whatever scenes Huot creates, he shares it on his Instagram account, which has 40,000+ followers.

The artist recently recreated the scene where ‘The Three Wise Men’, come to shower baby Jesus with gifts. The scene of Christ’s nativity was created entirely using Cheetos cheese puffs and gained massive appreciation from Huot’s fans.

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