Taken from www.reuters.com | Author: Blake Brittain | Date: 12 June 2023
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, whose banana taped to a wall at the Art Basel Miami art fair sold for $120,000 in 2019, on Monday defeated a copyright infringement lawsuit by a fellow conceptual artist who claimed Cattelan plagiarized his work.
Joe Morford failed to show that Cattelan illegally copied his own 2000 art piece featuring a banana duct-taped to a wall, a Miami federal judge ruled, tossing the case before trial.
Cattelan's attorney Adam Cohen said they were very pleased with the decision. Morford, who represented himself in the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cattelan said in a court filing that he meant for his work, "Comedian," to be "simple," "banal" and absurd.
Other works by Cattelan include a fully functioning solid-gold toilet named "America" that was valued at $5 million before being stolen from Britain's Blenheim Palace in 2019.
Morford sued Cattelan in 2020 for allegedly copying his piece "Banana and Orange," in which he duct-taped plastic versions of the fruits to green panels on a wall.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola said Monday that there was insufficient evidence that Cattelan could have seen "Banana and Orange" before creating "Comedian." The judge also said Cattelan provided evidence that he created his work independently.
Most of the similarities between the two pieces were not protected by copyright law, Scola said, including the basic idea of "affixing a banana to a vertical plane using duct tape."
The case is Morford v. Cattelan, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, No. 1:21-cv-20039.