Someone ate a really expensive snack at Art Basel to the tune of US$120,000.
For one banana.
Performance artist David Datuna shared a video of the stunt dubbed the “Hungry Artist”, on Instagram in which he walks up to the banana, takes it off the wall and proceeds to stuff his face with it while surrounded by a group of astonished onlookers at the Art Basel Miami show.
“I love Maurizio Cattelan artwork and I really love this installation. It’s very delicious,” Datuna wrote in the post.
The banana in question was part of an art installation by Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian artist best known for creating a gold toilet that was famously stolen while on display in London.
On Friday, the art gallery Perrotin sold three editions of the banana installation for at least US$120,000, stirring buzz and controversy in the art world.
Gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin was about to head to the airport when he heard that the banana was eaten. He darted to the space, clearly upset. A fairgoer tried to cheer him up and handed him his own banana.
“He did not destroy the artwork. The banana is the idea,” Lucien Terras, the director of museum relations for Perrotin told The Miami Herald.
According to Terras, the buyers bought a certificate of authenticity, which gives them ownership over the idea, while the bananas are meant to be replaced.
Perrotin and a gallery assistant re-adhered the borrowed banana to the wall.
According to the gallery, two of the bananas went to museums, declining to specify the buyers or the price.
What the buyers got wasn’t the quickly decaying fruit, but rather a certificate of authenticity and, importantly, a definitive, 14-page manual on how to install the work.
So in theory, Datuna’s intervention doesn’t mean the end of the show.