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Art Basel Miami Beach banana ends up where it should

ART BASEL | 08 de diciembre de 2019

Miami, Dec 8 (efe-epa).- "The Comedian," the controversial work of art by Italy's Maurizio Cattelan consisting of a banana fastened to a wall with duct tape and recently selling for $120,000 at Art Basel Miami Beach, met an unexpected - but, on the other hand, somewhat expected after all - end when another artist ate it.

New York performance artist David Datuna on Saturday showed up at the Perrotin gallery in Miami Beach and, before a large and stunned crowd who videotaped and photographed him with their mobile devices, removed the ripe banana from the gallery's wall and ate it, as evidenced by the videos circulating on the social networks and in the mainstream media.

Datuna announced that he was engaging in another performance art piece, this one entitled "Hungry Artist," before chowing down on "The Comedian."

While he ate the banana, Datuna thanked Cattelan and the gallery for the snack and asked if they had any more bananas.

Later, he gave his name and left the scene.

Perrotin Gallery spokesman Lucien Terras, told The Miami Herald daily later that Datuna did not "destroy" the work of art, asserting that the artwork itself is the certificate of authenticity that the buyer received upon making the purchase, and - in any event - another banana could easily be substituted for the one that vanished into Datuna's stomach.

There was nothing special about the original banana. Cattelan, 59, bought is at a Miami supermarket, according to information obtained about the artwork that the gallery provided before "The Comedian" gained such notoriety.

The work had generated considerable attention, causing many people to smile, Terras told the daily.

According to media reports this past week, the three works in the "Comedian" series created by Cattelan all sold at Art Basel, the first two for $120,000 and the third for $150,000.

The gallery has not confirmed or denied that pricing information.

One thing that is certain, however, is that the banana fastened to one of the white walls of the art gallery with duct tape was the most noteworthy work at Art Basel, which opened its doors to the public on Dec. 5 and this year expects to break the 2018 attendance record of 83,000-plus visitors before it closes on Dec. 8.

Many of the social media and regular media reports on the banana-artwork had a good laugh over the story, but others were taking Cattelan's work more seriously and have published theories and opinions regarding the significance of "The Comedian."

The specialized site ARTnews, for instance, questioned whether "Comedian" might be a "Cynical Sign of the Times or a Thrilling Artwork."

Datuna's unexpected appearance at the display and his gastronomic attack on the banana contributed new elements to the debate.

The owner of the gallery, Emmanuel Perrotin, said on Instagram that "'Comedian,' with its simple composition, ultimately offered a complex reflection of ourselves."

According to the Guggenheim Museum's Web site, Cattelan, who has received no formal art training but rocketed to fame in 1999 with the first of an ongoing series of avant-garde works of art, "has often been characterized as the court jester of the art world."

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