MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It wasn’t a prankster who decided to eat a banana worth $120,000 at Art Basel in Miami Beach over the weekend. It was performance artist David Datuna who explained Monday exactly why he did it.
“I just decided to eat the art. I think this is the first time in art history when one artist eat concept for another artist,” the artist said Monday from New York. “People ask me, ‘You eat banana?’ Physically it was banana, but banana was just a tool. Usually I eat the concept of the art.”
Datuna, originally from Georgia has lived in New York for 22 years.
The banana duct-taped to a wall, titled “Comedian” was created by artist Maurizio Cattelan.
Datuna, a performance and installation artist says he respects Cattelan immensely and said it was not vandalism, but simply performance art.
“It’s not banana, its concept and I just ate the concept of the artist. I think it’s cool, fun, and it’s what art is all about.”
He explained he doesn’t usually eat other’s peoples art but, “This is what artists do. It’s all about concept.”
Datuna added he “respects the artist because he makes fun of everything. Plus he’s fun, like the toilet he did, he’s smart, he’s genius.”
Cattelan is also known for his 18-carat gold toilet which was stolen from Winston Churchill’s birthplace.
When Datuna removed the banana from the wall, unpeeled it and took a bite, a large crowd gathered around and took videos with their phones.
He said the crowd was split. “Half said don’t eat it and the other half said eat it.”
The gallery, meantime, was upset and he was escorted out of the gallery by security.
The banana, eaten by Datuna, was the one remaining edition of the work after two others sold for $120,000 each.
A new banana was re-adhered to the wall with duct tape at the installation.
Eventually, that banana was removed from the wall because “the crowds coming to see the installation posed a serious health and safety risks, as well as an access issue,” according to an Art Basel spokesperson.
Even that didn’t stop another visitor from damaging the blank wall with graffiti. Using red lipstick, a man wrote, “Epstien didn’t kill himself,” a misspelled reference to theories about the death of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Roderick Webber, 46, was arrested on charges of criminal mischief.
Webber’s writing was covered up by a piece of white cardboard.
As for Datuna’s next project?
Well, he says it’ll be in Miami. He didn’t want to release a lot of details but called it a “big deal with the Super Bowl in Miami.”