GREENPOINT — Brooklyn chef and restaurateur put up a $100,000 masterpiece titled “Pizza,” for sale in his Greenpoint pizzeria, Fornino.
Micheal Ayoub, owner and founder of Fornino pizzeria, put up an artwork titled “Pizza” on the wall of his Greenpoint joint for $100,000 in response to Miami Art Basel’s piece “Comedian,” a banana duct-taped to a wall that went for $120,0000, by renown Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Later, the banana was eaten by another artist, who deemed the act “performance art.”
“I first saw [Maurizio Cattelan’s] work in the Guggenheim and I was enamored with him,” Ayoub told us. “I followed him and I saw his banana. And it’s a foodstuff stuck to the wall, so I thought, ‘Why not do a pizza?’”
Ayoub named the masterpiece “Pizza” because Cattelan already took “Comedian,” unfortunately.
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“And I only put it at $100,000 because I’m not as well known as he is, so we’ll see if we have any takers,” he shares about his inspiring journey into the art world. Currently, there are no takers, but a few shoppers are interested, “I’m optimistic,” he told us.
The pizza on the wall is their classic Margherita, which is switched out every day due to the board of health regulations. Every pizza has its own characteristics, a new, unique work of art adorns the pizzeria’s wall every given day, giving the piece even more originality.
“Anybody that buys it — I’ll bring them a new pizza every day for a year,” Ayoub said with pride.
Ayoub is a classically trained chef, born and raised in Bay Ridge to a mother with Naples roots, who cooked Italian food at home.
“Pizza has always been a passion of mine,” he shared. “Fornino is my mother’s maiden name and must’ve been somebody was a baker in my family in the past generations.”
The chef reminisces about his childhood, how his father didn’t like fish, so on Fish Friday, they always ate pizza.
Since a child, Ayoub spent time in the kitchen, rolling out cookie dough when he was a “wee lad.” He bought his first restaurant when he was 20. Tomorrow Ayoub will turn 63 and isn’t slowing down, he says they’re looking to open more pizzeria bakeries.
“Pizza is the common denominator of all people,” he said. “Everyone likes pizza.”