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Sunday, December 08, 2019, 18:23
Artist eats banana artwork at Art Basel
By Bloomberg
Sunday, December 08, 2019, 18:23 By Bloomberg

The highest-profile work at the biggest contemporary art fair in the US just got eaten.

“Comedian,” basically a banana stuck to a wall with duct tape, is now resting -- minus duct tape -- in the belly of one David Datuna, whose website calls him an “artist focused on the convergence of art and social consciousness.”

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By the time he’d nonchalantly detached the fruit from the wall, unpeeled and eaten it, a gallery employee tried to intervene but too late. “Art performance,” he said. He was a “hungry artist,” adding that, it “tasted good.”

It’s another bizarre twist in the history of this week’s Art Basel Miami Beach.

Artist provocateur Maurizio Cattelan, maker of the golden toilet that was stolen in September, earlier won the PR battle with his banana oeuvre. He attached a banana from a local grocery store to a wall of Galerie Perrotin’s booth. The asking price: US$120,000.

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According to Artnet, there was an immediate purchase. And then another. At which point the price increased to US$150,000, and that sold. Two more bananas went to museums, the gallery confirmed, 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.

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