Basel’s Duct-Taped Banana Art Exhibit – Question of Artistic Inspiration Gets an Answer

Many questioned the artistic inspiration behind the banana art exhibited by Art Basel Miami Beach during its well-attended annual event. A banana that artist Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan secured to a wall with a duct tape and given the title “Comedian” became the subject of controversy and bafflement to many who paid entry tickets costing between $25 and $65.

After all, Cattelan achieved fame among art lovers worldwide, through the $6 million, fully-functioning, 18-karat gold toilet which he created for the Blenheim Palace early this year. However, the gold loo, which the artist captioned as “America” was stolen last September, and up to this date has not been recovered.

Yet rather than be mesmerized by another astounding artwork by the modern Italian visual artist, many found it hard to understand the message conveyed by the art. To many it was totally lacking in inspiration, but the fact that Art Basel found somebody willing to pay its $120,000 price tag, prompted MSNBC’s Chuck Todd to comment that “inequality of wealth does exist in America.”

The controversy though took another twist when another artist, this time a performance and installation artist from Georgia, named David Datuna peeled off the banana art and ate it right in front of hundreds of stunned Art Basel attendees.

Performance Artist Drew Inspiration from the Banana Art by Eating the $120K Duct-Taped Art Piece

Later during the weekend of the exhibit, David Datuna, a well-known dramatic performance artist who hails from Georgia, took inspiration by removing the banana from the wall and nonchalantly ate the object. To the outrage of many onlookers, Datuna simply announced he just carried out a performance art called the “Hungry Artist;” simply because he is an artist and that he is hungry.

Actually, his original plan was to eat the banana earlier but decided to wait until he was hungry so he will be inspired to eat the $120K banana art piece. He was asked about his intention for eating Cattelan’s art work, as the gallery insisted that Datuna did not eat just a banana but an art concept.

The performance artist countered that his intention was not to deface the other artist’s creative work and that he agrees that what he ate was not a banana art piece but a concept.

He argued that this is how artists communicate with each other by way of art. The banana taped to the wall was Cattelan’s concept of art; him eating the banana was his performance. Still, before carrying out the performance, Datuna had asked friends to call his lawyers in case he gets arrested.