Service of Food: Valuable to Some, Essential to Others

December 9th, 2019

Categories: Art, Food, Hunger, Value

By Maurizio Cattelan Photo: news.artnet.com

According to United States Department of Agriculture, 40 million Americans face hunger, including 12.5 million children. In this regard two headlines hit me last week.

The first: “Maurizio Cattelan Is Taping Bananas to a Wall at Art Basel Miami Beach and Selling Them for $120,000 Each.”

The second: “Trump administration moves to remove 700,000 people from food stamps.”

Photo: bally.com

Sarah Cascone wrote the first article on artnet.com. She added that the gallery repping Cattelan was upping the price to $150,000 because the banana, affixed with contact tape to the wall, already had two buyers at the original asking price. She also reported that her husband and his college dorm mates had done the same thing with a banana and that he still had what was left of the shriveled fruit somewhere in their home.

I couldn’t tell from the article whether the artist would affix the banana to the buyers’ walls.

Obviously these art buyers have no trouble feeding themselves or their families which isn’t the case for people who need food stamps.

Photo: cnn.com

Tom Polansek wrote on reuters.com: “President Donald Trump has argued that many Americans receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment. The program provides free food to 36 million Americans.”

Savings to the government over five years is estimated to be $5.5 billion.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio described the cutback as “an unacceptable escalation of the administration’s war on working families, and it comes during a time when too many are forced to stretch already-thin budgets.”

Polansek reported “The administration has sought to tighten requirements for food stamps without congressional approval after Congress blocked a Trump-backed effort to pass new restrictions through the Farm Bill last year.”

“For those impacted it will mean less nutritious meals, or meals that are skipped altogether,” said Cassie Ramos, policy associate for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group.

Good work if you can get it is my reaction to the $120,000-$150,000 banana with a dash of there’s a sucker born every day. I’m not one bit magnanimous about the food stamp cuts.  If we’re looking for ways to cut the budget why pick on the poorer members of our country who, without food, in addition to suffering, will become sick and cost more? Will taking away food stamps inspire people who need them to get a job when my bet is that many already have a few?

Photo: wgem.com

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10 Responses to “Service of Food: Valuable to Some, Essential to Others”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    I agree with you about the food stamps. The man in the oval office seems to be picking on the poorest lowest brownest people he can.

    As far as the duct taped banana, I thought it was funny. And look at the offshoots it has developed. Our esteemed president taped to a wall with several rolls of tape. Somebody ate the hundred and $20,000 banana. Someone else replaced it with a plantain to make it politically correct. And lead to many other variations of that kind. Make Art fun again. Like the dada movement did once.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hank,

    The banana offshoots are hilarious! And if artist Cattelan sent the money from the pasted banana to an organization that fed the hungry I would add cheers to the smiles. The publicity he’s received for this silliness is worth far more than $120,000 or $150,000 so instead of laughing all the way to the bank he should share.

  3. David Reich Said:

    Both bits of news are crazy… spending $150,000 on a duct-taped banana! Even worse, though, is what the president is doing about the SNAP program. That will hurt people who are already in need.

    The $150,000 banana isn’t hurting anyone, although that money could have been put to better use helping people. But when it comes to high-priced art, beauty — and price — is in the eye of the beholder.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    David,

    I don’t think I know people who would pay in the six figures for stunt art but I do know people who support the administration. The former are willing to pay for boasting rights. I have no clue how people can think of depriving hungry people of food and not cringe and if nothing else think “there but for the grace of God go I.”

  5. Martha Takayama Said:

    The Cattelan art sales is grotesque and ludicrous. It makes the collectors look ridiculous.
    The president’s cuts are simply one more example of why he is unfit for office!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    The collectors do look silly unless they are supporters of the artist and this is the way they gave him money [though I doubt he needs it]. There might be tax ramifications?

    The food stamp cuts are downright mean. I’m always so proud of the people of this country who are generous beyond expectations when there’s a natural disaster or person in need. This move goes against the generous American grain.

  7. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie wrote on Facebook: Preaching to the choir in this camp.

  8. Deirdre Wyeth Said:

    Deirdre wrote on Facebook: It’s beyond shocking and appalling. I think we’ve run out of words.

  9. Lucrezia Said:

    It would appear that this administration never runs out of the inhumane and unspeakable. It seems to take most joy out of making all living things: Trees, wildlife & humans suffer in the extreme……the more helpless, the greater the entertainment.

    Were Caligula to be the only opponent next November, he’d get my vote.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I don’t wish poverty and hunger on anyone but key members of the administration, including its head and his adult children, might learn something if they suffered a few months of both. Moreover who needs to be hungry to empathize with those who are?

    I was asked “which candidate do you want to oppose DJT?” I replied “the one who appeals to the undecideds and independents” as I think they will determine who wins the election. That said, I can’t imagine being undecided these days. I’m with you re Caligula if he’s the nominee.

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