• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Banana split

Well, here's a controversy you don't see every day:

The mural on the house is clearly a banana. But is it art? Or an advertisement?

That is the question facing a town in Indiana as it weighs whether or not the house  can keep its banana mural.

Yossarian Gutwein painted the picture of a banana on a house near Purdue University in West Lafayette. The house is in a prominent area of town and needed a paint job, Stuart Gutwein, who is  Yossarian Gutwein’s cousin, told ABC News. Gutwein’s law firm handles legal issues for Granite Management, which manages the property.

But the logo for Granite Management is also a banana. Consequently, it has become a sticking point as to whether the painting is  also  serving as an advertisement for Granite Management.

Eric Burns, the attorney for the city council, explained to ABC News that if the mural was unquestionably artwork,  the town would not be getting involved. It would constitute  a form of free expression protected by the First Amendment. But because the banana is also the logo of Granite Management, it could be construed as advertising, which can be subject to commercial regulation under a county ordinance.

Whether it was art or and ad, I wouldn't particularly want to see a banana on the house next door every day. But I probably wouldn't be upset enough to try to tell the owner what he could or could not do with his property. I mean, how would I like it he told me I couldn''t put a chicken coop in the back yard or a doorless refrigerator on the front porch?