Banana Peel Installation by Adriana Lara at the New Museum's 'The Generational: Younger Than Jesus' Show [food art]

'Installation (Banana Peel)', Adriana Lara, 2008. View larger.

On display at the New Museum in New York City is Adriana Lara's "Installation (Banana Peel)," as part of the show "The Generational: Younger Than Jesus," the museum's new triennial survey of contemporary art.

For the banana peel installation, a museum employee is instructed to eat a banana each morning and discard the peel somewhere in the exhibition space, and, appropriately, there's a security guard always hovering nearby to protect it.

In context: 'Installation (Banana Peel)', Adriana Lara, 2008. View larger.

It brings to mind Marcel Duchamp's Readymades, the Situationist's détournement, the more recent ad-hoc artform of shop-dropping, or even Banksy's "Hang-and-Run" pieces. There's a certain joyful and subversive absurdity to Lara's banana peel — it being so out of place — the decomposing peel, what is conventionally garbage, soiling the pristine exhibition space.

Lara, by recruiting the museum's employees in the daily fashioning of the piece, turns them into participants, into litterers, into scofflaw installation artists. And with that comes a level of play, randomness, and humor, by leaving the undertaking and creation of the artwork to others, especially to the security guards who, in all likelihood, don't give a damn.

The banana peel doesn't immediately register as belonging in the museum, but it's that essentially "outsider" nature of the piece that seemed to resonate with attendees of the exhibit — see the above photograph of the child taking a photograph of the piece. If anything, it required a second look.

The safety of the patrons, yet alone the safety of the piece itself, even comes into question. The piece has indeed been confused for "garbage" — Museum Nerd twittered: "Adriana Lara's Installation (banana peel) just got kicked by a visitor trying to get it out of the way."

'Installation (Banana Peel)', Adriana Lara, 2008. View larger.

As the show's title implies, "The Generational: Younger Than Jesus" features work from artists 33 or younger, so there's a cacophonous vibe with video and audio installations buzzing throughout — standout pieces included the decidedly eccentric installations by Ryan Trecartin (hard to describe) and Chu Yun's installation piece where he hired women to sleep on a bed in the middle of the museum with the aid of sleep meds — and it's totally worth checking out. Coverage of the entire show is a little beyond the confines of Eat Me Daily, so please, read the reviews by The New Yorker, The New York Times, and New York Magazine — fittingly, the exhibition even has its own blog.

"The Generational: Younger Than Jesus" runs through June 14
The New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York City

—Raphael Brion

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