Arts and Culture

What makes a banana taped to a wall worth $120,000 to someone?

If it has been put there by the right artist.

This banana was duct-taped to a wall by Maurizio Cattelan, the Italian artist, and it's on display this week at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

The banana is real, by the way, not a sculpture. It will soon go brown, slimy, and may already be ... fragrant.

The Perrotin art gallery of Paris has already sold this piece of produce, and it turns out that $120,000 is practically a bargain. Another banana the artist taped to a wall is going for $150,000.

It's the holiday gift for when you can't think of what else to give. Good for old, young, women, men, north, south — NPR even sells 'em! Socks. And they are having their moment. "Socks have gone through their ups and downs and have had very very many different moments in the fashion world, and there's certainly a resurgence today, as you have probably noticed," says Steven Frumkin, a dean at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. "People want to make a statement, and one of the nice ways of doing it is to have a pair of socks that says something."


Jeff Vandermeer's latest novel, Dead Astronauts, is a kaleidoscopic and fractured mosaic: In a long-changed, post-climate-apocalypse world, a trio of saboteurs — or escapees — or simply survivors — attempt over and over again to dismantle the work of the Company, an entity which may have once been a biotech corporation but now churns out broken and altered-beyond-recognition monstrosities in an endless stream. The three — who are the closest the reader gets to protagonists in the first half of the book — are only nominally human, and only nominally astronauts.

Ron Leibman, who won a Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway play Angels in America and an Emmy Award on the short-lived CBS show Kaz, died Friday afternoon at the age of 82.

Leibman's death was confirmed to NPR by his agent, Robert Atterman, CEO of Abrams Artists Agency. No other details were available.

The New York-born actor and stage veteran was also known for playing Dr. Leonard Green, the father of Jennifer Aniston's Rachel Green, on TV's Friends.

As a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and boundary-pushing feminist trailblazer, Paula Cole has long incorporated powerful social statements into her emotional hit songs. Cole's latest album, 2019's Revolution, is no exception. Described as a social protest album, Revolution's songs tackle subjects like climate change and politics, which Cole hopes will inspire thought and conversation from listeners.

Pages