Popeye’s install their own art project with a $120,000 chicken sandwich duct-taped to a wall

Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

To us mere mortals, the art world can seem like a scary place. There are loads of pieces that people with waxed ‘taches and natty hats think are terribly clever but look to the rest of us about as profound as a dog poo bin. It might all be subjective, but some art is just irritating – unless you dress like a scarecrow that has been pulled through an Oxfam and lives in a Shoreditch coffee shop. 

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Modern art’s capacity to annoy has been aptly demonstrated in recent weeks by a simultaneously controversial and silly exhibition in Miami Beach. Held at the famously provocative Art Basel Miami festival, the display featured a single banana duct-taped to the wall of a gallery. It was bought for $120,000. There’s having more money than sense, and then there’s taking the piss. 

Understandably, the existence of the most unnecessarily expensive piece of fruit in human history did not go undetected. Hundreds had flocked to the exhibition to have their photo taken with the banana, before American performance artist David Datuna decided to take the next logical step and eat it. The incident caused quite the fracas in the artistic community. 

Now, however, obviously inspired by the idea that apparently products can increase exponentially in value if they’re strategically stuck on a wall, fast food franchise Popeyes has decided that fruit isn’t the only food worth celebrating. Following the media storm around “banana-gate”, the company has submitted its own artwork for public consideration. Consisting of the chain’s infamous fried chicken sandwich, the piece has been dubbed “The Sandwich”. It is not a misnomer. 

The official description states that, rather than simply being a cold and presumably quite stale chicken bun, “The Sandwich” is “a mixed media work of art consisting of a toasted brioche bun, two pickles, fried chicken, mayo and duct tape over a canvas.” On display at the San Paul Gallery Urban Art, it could be yours for a mere $120,003.99.

Although the idea of a sandwich that costs more than a car might seem to some like the natural endpoint of anarcho-capitalist culture, there is method behind the madness. Popeyes has confirmed, for instance, that all profits will go straight to the Popeyes Foundation, a “non-profit organization that helps communities with food and support in times of need.” 

Credit: PA

This seems like a significantly better use of resource than what was involved with the original banana piece. But, whichever way you spin it, there are worrying signs that duct tape and food is making a play to be the year’s next big art fad. The rest of us will have to wait and see what else end up affixed to a wall.