A man ate a banana duct-taped to a wall at a Miami art fair on Saturday, consuming an expensive piece of modern artwork.
The banana installation was on display at the Perrotin gallery of Art Basel, one of the world’s most high-profile art fairs. The talk of the event, a French art collector bought it earlier in the week for $120,000.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan created the banana piece, which he titled “Comedian.” Cattelan previously made headlines with “America,” an 18-carat-gold toilet widely seen as a shot at President Donald Trump.
On Saturday afternoon, New York-based artist David Datuna removed the banana from the wall before peeling and eating it. He told stunned onlookers that he was “hungry” and that the snack was an “art performance” called “Hungry Artist.”
Datuna told TMZ he was escorted from the exhibition by security and interviewed by police, but that he had not yet been charged with a crime.
A video of the stunt quickly went viral, wracking up millions of views.
Datuna, an American citizen born in the country of Georgia, has previous sold his paintings for hundreds of thousands of dollars, including portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.
Perrotin Gallery spokesman Lucien Terras told the Miami Herald that Datuna did not “destroy” “Comedian” because “the banana is the idea.” According to reports, the fruit has already been replaced.
Praise for David Datuna
Still, social media users, particularly of a conservative bent, hailed Datuna’s act as a populist victory.
Alec Sears called Datuna an “absolute hero.”
Remember that stupid modern art exhibit worth $120k that was literally just a banana duct taped to a wall?
This absolute hero just ate the banana https://t.co/AbJgMOdXU8
— Alec Sears (@alec_sears) December 7, 2019
“Art is so stupid,” observed Jessica Fletcher of the Daily Wire.
They said “the art was not damaged” because they could replace the banana. Art is so stupid. https://t.co/jLISlphCeY
— Jessica Fletcher (@heckyessica) December 8, 2019
Cattelan recently suffered a more permanent artistic loss. In September, his golden toilet, valued at more than $1 million, was stolen from Blenheim Palace in England.
Nancy Spector, the chief curator of New York’s Guggenheim museum, in 2017 hailed the toilet as “humorous and searing” and “an anticipation of Trump’s America.” She famously offered to loan the toilet to Trump’s White House after turning down a request for a Van Gogh painting.
Cattelan has said that while he conceived of the toilet prior to Trump’s political rise, “it was probably in the air.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said “America, a golden toilet artwork, was stolen in August; in fact, it was stolen in September. Also, the title of the duct-taped banana is “Comedian,” not “The Comedian” as originally towered.