A performance artist on Saturday ate a banana duct-taped to a wall — the most talked-about artwork at Miami's Art Basel — that sold earlier this week for $120,000. New York-based performance artist David Datuna ate the banana around 1:45 p.m. on Saturday in front of a convention full of art lovers, the gallery told the Miami Herald.
Perrotin Gallery spokesman Lucien Terras told the Herald that Datuna did not "destroy" the artwork because "the banana is the idea."
The controversial piece, called "The Comedian," was created by Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian artist who had also entertained art lovers from around the globe in 2017 with his "America" 18-carat-gold toilet. The $6-million throne was stolen from England's Blenheim Palace over the summer.
Emmanuel Perrotin, the gallery founder, told CBS News that Maurizio's work is not just about objects, but about how objects move through the world.
"Whether affixed to the wall of an art fair booth or displayed on the cover of the New York Post, his work forces us to question how value is placed on material goods," he said.
He added that "the spectacle is as much a part of the work as the banana."
Perrotin was about to head to the airport when he heard about the banana being eaten and rushed back, according to the Herald. An attendee tried to cheer him up by handing him a banana. A borrowed replacement banana was eventually re-adhered to the wall.
Some critics argue this piece is a perfect representation of what the art world has become with its gaping wealth inequalities. Others, however, chose not to go as deep and appreciate the simplicity of the art piece.
The artist first came up with the idea a year ago. He "was thinking of a sculpture that was shaped like a banana," according to a press statement from Perrotin.
"Every time he traveled, he brought a banana with him and hung it in his hotel room to find inspiration. He made several models: first in resin, then in bronze and in painted bronze (before) finally coming back to the initial idea of a real banana."
The artist reported no clear instructions for buyers on whether the bananas start to decompose.