Student Eats $120,000 Banana Artwork Because “He Was Hungry”
In a Nutshell:
- A student at Seoul National University in South Korea ate Maurizio Cattelan’s famous “Comedian” artwork — a banana duct-taped to a wall — claiming he did so because he was hungry.
- The student taped the banana peel back onto the wall, with the museum later replacing it with a fresh banana.
- This is not the first time the piece, sold for $120,000 in 2019, has been eaten; performance artist David Datuna did the same in 2019, calling it an “art performance.”
After three long years, the notorious banana duct-taped to a wall, a piece by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and sold for $120,000, has met another unexpected fate.
This time, a student at Seoul National University decided the iconic work titled “Comedian” would make an enticing snack.
In an act of either brazen hunger or daring performance art, the student removed the fruit from its display at the Leeum Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea, and ate it.
“The student told the museum he ate it because he was hungry,” a museum spokesperson disclosed during a phone call with CNN.
Following his unusual meal, the student taped the peel back on to the wall, only for the museum to replace it with a fresh banana later.
Cattelan’s work has repeatedly challenged popular culture and spurred debates around conceptual art.
“Comedian” famously sold for $120,000 at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2019.
Two other editions of the piece were also purchased at the fair, sparking both astonishment and amusement in the art world.
This isn’t the first time the artwork has been deemed ripe for consumption.
Following the initial sale of “Comedian” in 2019, performance artist David Datuna also plucked and ate the banana on display at the Perrotin gallery at Art Basel in Miami.
Datuna subsequently deemed the act as an art performance, posting on Instagram: “I really love this installation. It’s very delicious.”
The museum was somewhat nonplussed by the student’s actions.
“It happened suddenly, so no special action was taken. The artist (Cattelan) was informed of the incident but he didn’t have any reaction to it,” the museum spokesperson added.
This lack of action could be due to the fact that the banana in the artwork is regularly swapped out every two to three days.
Meanwhile, the “Comedian” continues to be embroiled in a copyright battle.
Joe Morford, a California-based artist, alleged in 2022 that Cattelan plagiarized his own 2000 artwork titled “Banana & Orange”.
Cattelan’s lawyers, however, have countered that Morford has “no valid copyright,” to the elements of the artwork — the banana and the duct tape against a wall.
Cattelan’s other headline-grabbing piece, an 18-carat-gold toilet named “America” valued at around $6 million, was stolen from the birthplace of Winston Churchill at Bleinheim Palace in England in 2019.
To date, it has not been recovered.
As the art world watches and waits for the next chapter in the “Comedian” saga, one thing is certain: Maurizio Cattelan’s banana duct-taped to a wall continues to be, in one way or another, a delicious subject of debate.
May 25, 2023 at 12:34 pm
$120,000 for a BANANA!
That is CRAZY!