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Man eats $120,000 banana at Miami art exhibit

December 8, 2019

A "hungry" artist caused a stir at an art show after he ate a piece by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan in front of an astonished crowd. The gallery, however, has said the artwork was not destroyed.

David Datuna holding a $120,000 banana
Image: Reuters/E. Uzcategui

A performance artist at the Art Basel show in Florida's Miami Beach shocked a crowd of onlookers when he ate one of the most appealing pieces at the show on Saturday.

But he didn't require medical attention afterwards, as the artwork was an ordinary banana that had been duct-taped to the wall. "Comedian," a piece by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, had already been sold to a French collector for $120,000 (€105,000).

Read moreMaster of provocation: Maurizio Cattelan

The artist, David Datuna, posted a video of the stunt on Instagram titled "Hungry Artist," which showed him shoving the banana in his mouth in front of a group of shocked and giggling art patrons.

"Art performance ... hungry artist," he said, as he peeled the banana and took a bite. "Do you have more? $150,000? Tasting good," he continued. 

He was then taken aside for questioning by an unamused representative of the Paris-based Galerie Perrotin, which represents Cattelan. 

A woman stands in front of a $120,000 banana artwork
Two other bananas have been sold for $120,000 and $150,000 eachImage: Reuters/E. Uzcategui

The art is the 'idea'

According to Cattelan's representatives at the Galerie Perrotin, the work was not destroyed.

"He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea," Lucien Terras, director of museum relations for Perrotin, told the Miami Herald.

According to Terras, the buyers purchased a certificate of authenticity, which gives them ownership over the idea. The bananas are replaced after they rot. 

About 15 minutes after Datuna's stunt, another banana was taped to the wall. Perrotin said it would not press charges.

On Friday, Perrotin sold two editions of "Comedian" for $120,000 each. A third banana was sold to a museum for $150,000.

Cattelan is well-known for offering to loan a fully functioning 18-carat gold toilet called "America" to US President Donald Trump.

wmr/stb  (AFP, dpa, AP)

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