United Kingdom

Performance artist devours $120,000 banana at Miami beach gallery

Art is said to be in the eye of the beholder, but in the case of David Datuna, it moved rather rapidly from his mouth to his stomach.

The object in question was a banana, taped to a wall at a gallery in Miami by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, whose previous creations include the 18-carat gold lavatory which was ripped out of Blenheim Palace in September.

This was no ordinary banana, but part of an artwork which had already been sold for $120,000 (£91,400).

This banana symbolised global trade according to Emmanuel Perrotin the founder of At Gallery Basel, which hosted the exhibition. It was just another example of how Cattelan turned everyday items into "vehicles of both delight and critique."

However David Datuna a New York-based artist of some distinction in his own right decided to enhance the experience by eating the banana in front of an audience of gallery visitors.

"Art performance. Hungry artist" he said as he munched the banana which, it has to be said, was turning brown.

This was not an act of artistic vandalism, he said, insisting it was a gesture of respect.

His performance was captured for posterity by a crowd which had grown to over 20 by the time the banana had been devoured.

Peggy Leboeuf, the gallery director was not amused by the unauthorised improvisation by Mr Datuna, whose portrait of Vladimir Putin constructed from miniature images of the Mona Lisa, fetched $269,000 in 2011.

 "He was not arrested. But we asked him to leave the booth and leave the fair.

"We have his contact and everything. We can go further, but I don't think we will."

All is not lost, however. The piece, entitled "Comedian' has retained its value thanks to a certificate of authenticity and the owner is free to replace the banana - and duct tape.

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