Banana taped to Basel show wall an idea; $120K fruit art was replaced minutes after 'hungry' performance artist ate it

David Datuna's stunt sent temperatures soaring on social media.

Banana taped to Basel show wall an idea; $120K fruit art was replaced minutes after 'hungry' performance artist ate it
MIAMI: The move was bananas... or maybe the work was just too appealing. A performance artist shook up the crowd at the Art Basel show in Miami Beach on Saturday when he grabbed a banana that had been duct-taped to a gallery wall and ate it.

The banana was, in fact, a work of art by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled "Comedian" and sold to a French collector for $120,000.

In a video posted on his Instagram account, David Datuna, who describes himself as a Georgian-born American artist living in New York, walks up to the banana and pulls it off the wall with the duct tape attached.


"Art performance ... hungry artist," he said, as he peeled the fruit and took a bite. "Thank you, very good." A few bystanders could be heard giggling before a flustered gallery official whisked him to an adjoining space for questioning.


But the kerfuffle was resolved without a food fight.

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

As it turns out, the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity, the newspaper reported. The banana is meant to be replaced.

A replacement banana was taped to the wall about 15 minutes after Datuna's stunt.

"This has brought a lot of tension and attention to the booth and we're not into spectacles," Terras said. "But the response has been great. It brings a smile to a lot of people's faces." Gallery director Peggy Leboeuf said that no legal action was planned against Datuna.

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"He was not arrested, but we asked him to leave the booth and to leave the fair," she said.

"We have his contact and everything, so we can go further, but I don't think we will." Cattelan is perhaps best known for his 18-carat, fully functioning gold toilet called "America" that he had once offered on loan to US President Donald Trump.
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The toilet, valued at around $5 to $6 million, was in the news again in September when it was stolen from Britain's Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of wartime leader Winston Churchill, where it had been on display.

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Who says a scribble or a scratch is worthless? Check out these abstracts which sold for a fortune thanks to their minimalistic allure.
Who says a scribble or a scratch is worthless? Check out these abstracts which sold for a fortune thanks to their minimalistic allure.
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(Image: www.christies.com)
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(Image: www.christies.com)
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(Image: www.markrothko.org)
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(Image: www.sothebys.com)
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Cost: $84.16 million

Newman’s 1961 stark black palette on a pale canvas was part of Christie’s post-war and contemporary evening sale auction in 2014. Newman started dabbling in abstract expression while he was mourning the death of his younger brother George. About the painter’s black fixation, art expert Thomas Hess recalled Newman saying, “When an artist wants to change, when he wants to invent, he goes to black as it is a way of clearing the table-of getting to new ideas.” The painting is in the possession of a private collector now. Its previous owner had the painting for nearly 40 years.

(Image: www.christies.com)
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