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The next time you get a McDonald's cheeseburger, you might want to save the pickle, because there's a chance you could turn it into six grand or so. That's what artist Matthew Griffin has done with his latest piece, which is simply called "Pickle." The Sydney-based Griffin peeled the pickle off of a recent McMeal, threw it onto the ceiling of an Auckland, New Zealand art gallery, and gave it a NZD$10,000 ($6,275) price tag.
"Pickle" is on display at the Michael Lett Gallery through July 30, and any interested buyers will be asked for an additional NZD$4.44 ($2.80) if they'd like to have the burger that it came from.
According to The Guardian, the pickle is clinging to the ceiling with nothing but the assorted sauces and inherent stickiness that it was served with, and whoever drops four figures on this piece won't get that exact pickle, but they will be given "instructions on how to recreate the art in their own space."
"People don't have to think it's art if they don't want to. Anything can be an artwork, but not everything is," Ryan Moore, the director of Fine Arts Sydney, told news.com.au. "What makes an artwork is when whatever an artist makes or does is able to be used as art: when the object or action is thought about or talked about as an artwork. And that's what we are doing here, which I think is great."
What is kind of funny is that the artistic mediums listed for "Pickle" are the ingredients found in a McDonald's burger — even the ones that Griffin didn't throw skyward. (For example, the gallery's label for "Pickle" includes the components of a "Regular Bun," of a "Beef Patty" and of the ketchup that is presumably keeping the pickle anchored overhead.)
All of this is a bit reminiscent of "Comedian," the extremely buzzed-about piece from Art Basel Miami in 2019. Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan duct-taped a banana to a gallery wall and promptly sold it for $120,000. A second banana also sold for $120,000 just a couple of hours later. (A couple of days later, artist David Dattuna pulled another of Cattelan's bananas off the wall and promptly ate the entire thing. "$150,000? Tasting good," was his assessment.)
Meanwhile, Ryan Moore says it's fine if we're all laughing at that pickle on the ceiling. "A humorous response to the work is not invalid — it's OK, because it is funny," he told The Guardian.
Perhaps the truly funny part is that someone may actually pay $6,000 for it.