Horticultural Horror: The Art World Loses a Masterpiece as a Gallery Patron Grabs the $120,000 Banana and Eats It

[Screenshot from cluedont via Twitter, paneled, https://twitter.com/cluedont/status/1203611493834641409]
[Screenshot from cluedont via Twitter, paneled, https://twitter.com/cluedont/status/1203611493834641409]


The case for mega-moulah for masterpieces just slipped on a banana peel.


Or maybe it’s more appeeling than ever.

As I covered Saturday, a banana duct-taped to a wall at Miami’s Art Basel sold for $120,000. Though purchased, it remained on display.

The revolutionary artist responsible for the fruitful endeavor, Maurizio Cattelan, had planned to sell three.

But tragedy struck #1, which will now soon become number two — the owner of the gallery was on his way to the airport when he received devastating news: Someone had eaten the banana.

Crappy ending.

But what a potassium-packed people-magnet it’d been: The crowd to see it had grown so large, the London-based White Cube gallery in the booth nextdoor had removed their in-the-way installation.

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The talk of the town in Miami right now is Maurizio Cattelan’s “Comedian,” a banana 🍌 duct taped to the wall. Two have already sold for $120,000 at Perrotin 😉 read more, including about the banana my husband, @nnddmmyy, hung on his dorm wall for two years, on Artnet News, link in bio @artnet @galerieperrotin @mauriziocattelan @artbasel #art #conceptualart #banana #sculpture #artbasel #artbaselmiamibeach #artbaselmiami #artfair #artgallery #artwork #whatisart #isthisart #miami #miamibeach #florida #miamiflorida #mauriziocattelan #perrotin #galerieperrotin #artist #bananapeel #ducttape #artnetnews #artcollector #vippreview #artjournalism #artjournalist #openingday #artgallery #gallery #artworld

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Sadly, on Sunday — as reported by the Miami Herald — Perrotin Gallery partner Peggy Leboeuf saw a man chowing on the masterpiece, which still had some duct tape on it. She demanded to know what he was doing.

The banana biter, David Datuna, told her he was a performance artist.

She responded with horror:

“But you’re not supposed to touch the art!”

Even so, perhaps David’s act of defiant digestion was downright deep.

As observed by a RedState commenter on my original article:

“[I]sn’t it ironic that an ‘art’ piece that is supposed to ‘force us to question how value is placed on material goods’ then sells for an unreasonable amount of money?”

Maybe David consuming the botanical berry — which, according to some critics, indeed represents wealth and inequality — was in fact the more valuable work of art.

But if not, those of you aghast at the masticating mayhem can breathe a sigh of relief — fortunately for everyone involved, the peeled and pulverized pièce de résistance was quickly redeemed:

[Gallery proprietor Emmanuel Perrotin] darted to the space, clearly upset. A fair goer tried to cheer him up and handed him his own banana.

Perrotin and a gallery assistant re-adhered the borrowed banana to the wall just after 2 p.m.


Director of Museum Relations Lucien Terras insists it’s no loss:

“He did not destroy the art work. The banana is the idea.”

But I say different. As pointed out by the Herald, the large sum recently paid for a certain small phallic fruit could’ve procured 631,579 of them at Trader Joe’s.

On Sunday, a man ate that very specific $120,000 banana.

My question is: Over the next 24 hours, what’s its depreciation?

Something tells me it’s more than that of a new car.

Let the auction begin — do I hear $75,000?



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