An Australian artist took a pickle out of a McDonald’s cheeseburger and slapped it on the ceiling of a gallery. Now it costs $6,200
Often, in art galleries, the question of whether an object is a work of art leaves viewers perplexed. In the case of a show in New Zealand, the object in question is actually a pickle.
For the exhibition, Australian artist Matthew Griffin plucked a pickle from a McDonald’s cheeseburger and slapped it on the gallery’s ceiling. The coin is only the size of a quarter but its price is worth much more: 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,200).
The work, simply called Pickleis currently on display at the Michael Lett Gallery in Auckland in collective exhibition presented by Griffin Merchants, Fine Arts Sydney.
Inspired by a long history of biting ready-mades, since 1917 by Marcel Duchamp Fountain $120,000 banana urinal Maurizio Cattelan taped to the wall of an Art Basel Miami booth in 2019, Griffin Pickle is meant to fuel conversations about “how value and meaning are generated between people,” Sydney Fine Arts director Ryan Moore told the Guardian.
“Generally speaking, it’s not the artists who decide if something is art,” said the director. “Whether something is valuable and meaningful as a work of art is how we collectively, as a society, choose to use it or talk about it.”
The pickle, Moore explained, sticks to the ceiling thanks to its own residual burger sauce.
“Even though it looks like a pickle attached to the ceiling – and there’s no artifice there, it is exactly what it is – there’s something about the encounter with it like a sculpture or a sculptural gesture,” Moore added.
The lucky buyer of Griffin’s artwork won’t receive the exact pickle, but rather instructions on how to recreate the artwork in its own space – a gesture that elevates the object beyond of those that could be found on any McDonald’s ceiling.
“It’s not about the virtuosity of the artist standing there in the gallery throwing it to the ceiling,” Moore concluded. “It doesn’t matter how it gets there, as long as someone pulls it out of the burger and throws it at the ceiling.
“The gesture is so pure, so joyful, that’s what makes it so good.”
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