Fort Makers presents BANANAS, an exhibition that probes the cultural significance of the world’s most eaten fruit.
SEPTEMBER 30 – NOVEMBER 28, 2021
Fort Makers is pleased to present BANANAS, a group exhibition that probes the cultural significance of the world’s most eaten fruit, on view September 30th–November 28th, 2021. The exhibition marks the two year anniversary of Fort Makers’ gallery space in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and celebrates its expansion with the opening of Fort Makers Market, an adjoining showroom and shop showcasing Fort Makers’ original designs and artist collaborations. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 30th from 12-7pm, with visitors required to wear mask upon entry.
"Go bananas while you still can," the New Scientist wrote in 2006, warning of a possible Panama disease pandemic—the banana equivalent to Covid-19.(1) That threat has become increasingly real as a new strain of the lethal fungal pathogen has suddenly accelerated, rampaging through banana farms across Asia to Latin America, and prompting fears of a 'banana pandemic' and shortage of the world’s favorite fruit.(2)
In light of this epidemiological parallel, Fort Makers invited artists to mine the banana’s diverse cultural associations and economic value. Symbolically, the banana can represent wealth, health, sex and fertility. The fruit has also become a prop in physical comedy, sex education, and even in the racist gesture of throwing bananas at athletes of color. The banana’s image infiltrated mainstream media as a tutti-frutti hat, and has been copied and reproduced as a Warholian print. The banana also plays a vital role in food security, the UN estimating bananas to be the fourth most important crop in the world after wheat, rice and maize.(3)
Transforming the gallery into a Victorian-era Wunderkammer, Fort Makers will present a range of works from historical pieces to newly commissioned paintings, sculptures and home goods. Participating artists include Naomi S. Clark, Colin Roberts, Sara French, Tamika Rivera, Marcel Alcalá, Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Nick Atkins, Anna Banana, Jason Bauer & Romina Gonzales, Pedro Caetano, Liz Collins, Elizabeth Enders, Arlene Gottfried, Johannah Herr, Janie Korn, Lilian Martinez / BFGF, Haley Mellin, Jiha Moon, Rebecca Morgan, Paulo Nazareth, Colin Radcliffe, Scott Reeder, Julia Rivera, Glauco Rodrigues, Bruce M. Sherman, Keith Simpson, Shino Takeda, Andy Warhol, and Magdalena Wosinska.
FORT MAKERS is a New York-based design studio and artist collective that designs bold, colorful, and tactile objects and environments through the lens of American craft. Offering exclusive, pièce-unique and limited-edition collections of art objects, handmade furniture, and sculptural lighting, Fort Makers creates inventive, playful pieces that people can live with forever. Founded in 2008 by Nana Spears, Noah Spencer and Naomi Clark, Fort Makers also includes artists Jason Bauer, Romina Gonzales, Tamika Rivera, Keith Simpson and Shino Takeda. In September 2019, Fort Makers opened its first exhibition space and concept store at 38 Orchard Street in Manhattan. The gallery transforms every three months, hosting quarterly, immersive installations and exhibitions.
(1) New Scientist. (2006, May 13). A future with no bananas? New Scientist. https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9152-a-future-with-no-bananas/.
(2) Gray, L. (2020, June 22). The 'banana pandemic' destroying the world's favourite fruit. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/follow-the-food/the-pandemic-threatening-bananas.html.
(3) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.). Banana facts and figures. EST: Banana facts. http://www.fao.org/economic/est/est-commodities/bananas/bananafacts/en/#.YS1D7dNKg-S.
Image: Rebecca Morgan, Banana Smile (2021). Keith Simpson, Banana Rocking Pots with Skulls (2021). Shino Takeda, baNaNa (2021). Marcel Alcalá, Happy Banana (2021). Colin Radcliffe, Uncut (2021). BFGF (Lilian Martinez), Banana Scarf.