‘Hungry artist’ eats buzzy duct-taped banana at Art Basel

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - It’s the piece of art that South Florida has been going bananas over — but at Art Basel this weekend, one person ate the star of the show.

“Comedian,” a piece of “edible art” created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, consists of a banana duct-taped to a white wall. What made it garner headlines was that it had been sold for a reported $120,000 last week.

The buzz it amassed drew thousands of Art Basel attendees determined to take a good look at the combination of fruit and adhesive — and, of course, take a picture next to it.

But one artist shocked onlookers on Saturday when he went up to the display from Galerie Perrotin and took a big bite.

Cellphone video captured New York-based performance artist David Datuna walking up and casually removing the banana from the wall.

“Art performance. Hungry artist,” said Datuna as he unpeeled the fruit.

He is then seen eating it with the duct tape still attached.

“You have more?” he asked while still eating the banana.

Datuna’s move quickly drew the attention of the crowd and gallery staff.

“He’s not the artist,” an onlooker is heard saying in the video.

“Are you kidding?!” said Peggy Leboeuf, the gallery’s executive director.

“No,” replied Datuna.

Leboeuf later described her astonished reaction to 7News.

“I couldn’t see the banana on the wall, and I realized that there was one guy that was eating the banana,” she said. “He had the banana in the hand, the tape around the banana, and so then I realized that he ate the banana.”

Meanwhile, Datuna insisted that, by eating the fruit, he created art, too.

“This is why I eat things, so one artist eats for another artist,” he said. ‘I think it’s cool. This is what art is all about.

But Laboeuf was not amused.

“I told him that he was insane because you’re not supposed to touch the artwork,” she said.

Within minutes, gallery officials moved in and replaced the banana, shifting the focus back to this simple but mesmerizing piece of work.

The gallery called police, but Datuna was not arrested.

“Comedian” comes with a certificate of authenticity and did not lose any of its value. Cattelan advises the owner to periodically change out the banana.

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