An Artist Ate the $120K USD Banana at Art Basel Miami Beach (UPDATE)

“He did not destroy the work!”

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UPDATE (December 8, 2019): In a turn of events, a New York-based performance artist named David Datuna has eaten the banana in the Comedian, an art installation featuring a banana duct-taped to the wall, which sold for a whopping $120,000 USD to a French collector earlier this week. “I can eat the banana and the concept of the banana — because I am an artist and not a regular human.”

“I can eat the banana and the concept of the banana — because I am an artist and not a regular human,” said the artist. “It’s not about the piece. It’s an art performance. Maurizio Cattelan, I love him. One artist eats another artist. It’s fun.” He added: “The performance name is Hungry Artist.” Spokesperon Lucien Terras also chimed in: “He did not destroy the work ! The banana is the idea.”

It’s unclear at this point what will happen to the sale of the artwork to the French collector.


ORIGINAL STORY (December 6, 2019): Art Basel Miami Beach has officially kicked off, with plentiful artworks, limited goods and product launches all rolling out in the Floridian metropolis. Perhaps the most unusual offering on display is a humble banana, duct-taped to a wall; amazingly, two editions of the produce have sold for $120,000 USD each.

The creative behind the work is 59-year-old Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Dubbed Comedian, the creation bears a cheeky resemblance to Andy Warhol’s iconic 1967 pop art fruit.

A first edition for Comedian apparently came from a local Miami supermarket and sold to a French collector for $120,000 USD by Perrotin, an international art gallery, according to Artnet’s site. A second edition sold to another French connoisseur for the same price, while a third edition of the work will reportedly sell for a staggering $150,000 USD.

Comedian is currently on display at the Galerie Perrotin booth at the Basel fair. Gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin called the phenomenon a “miracle,” adding “I don’t know how this happened!” Perrotin went on to tell CNN the banana is “a double entendre, as well as a classic device for humor,” explaining that they’re vehicles of both “critique and delight.”

This isn’t the first time Cattelan has set the art world abuzz. In September, the artist made headlines after his 18-karat gold toilet — valued at $6 million USD — was swiped from Winston Churchhill’s boyhood home.

For more conventional Art Basel fare, check out our guide to Art Basel Miami Beach 2019.

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