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$120K Banana Makes For An Expensive Snack

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Typically, bananas are one of nature’s most nutritious, delicious, and affordable snacks. At the grocery store, they’re just a few dollars a pound (that’s for the more expensive organic variety). They are packed with lots of vitamins and potassium, and they even come with their own disposable wrapper. No wonder why it is so tempting to enjoy one from time to time.

However, there are times when a banana snack should be avoided. Like, when you see one on display at an art show with a price tag ranging above six figures. That’s one instance when the snack is definitely off-limits. Or is it?

Odd Art Meets Performance Art

Though it should have been clear that the piece of fruit was meant to be left alone, one participant at an art show in Miami Beach, Florida actually consumed a banana that was on display. Perhaps it was easy to understand his mistake. As part of the installation, the fruit was simply taped to the wall by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Unceremoniously. With the same kind of duct tape you’d find at Home Depot.

Maybe the man could have been forgiven for his mistake… if it was a mistake. In reality, he seemed to know just what he was doing. The snacker was performance artist David Datuna and he didn’t appear to show much remorse for his actions. In fact, in an Instagram post he made after his stunt he wrote, “I really love this installation. It is very delicious.”

Despite the fact that the cost of his snack was deemed to be worth no less than $120,000 (two previous versions of the art had sold for around that amount) that kind of posting didn’t show him as sorry for his actions. Not at all. After the performance Datuna wasn’t arrested, he was just asked to leave the premises.

The Incident Spawned A Range Of Responses

The performance was filmed and posted online where it quickly went viral. As it was happening, at least one person was seen criticizing Datuna for what he was doing. However, what’s interesting is that Datuna wasn’t the first person to have eaten a banana off of the display. The gallery’s own founder was shown on social media removing the banana and eating it. In addition, the artist’s instructions to the gallery are imprecise though they’re also clear that the banana can be removed as needed.

Perhaps the reaction and commentary about the piece is as much a work of art as the fruit itself. Cattelan titled the installation “comedian” and when talking about it he noted that he chose the banana because it is both a symbol of global trade and a key prop in cultural humor.

It is also worth stating the obvious: there’s no way that a display with a real banana could ever be permanent anyway. As fresh fruit exposed to the air, it’s ultimately going to rot under its duct tape anyway and that possibility just adds to the thoughtful dimensions of the art.

Cue The Online Banana Humor

As you might expect, the incident gave rise to its fair share of online banana jokes. A Facebook search of the banana results in dozens of international postings, likes, and shares and coverage on both major media and individualized personal accounts. One Kentucky news station WKTY commented that “at least he’s no longer a starving artist.”

Grocery chain Kroger got in on the joke with a Twitter posting that said “Art that can always be eaten, as low as 5 cents a bite. #Freshforeveryone.” Kroger’s home-base media outlet Cincinnatti.com extended the joke by calling it “very appealing.”

It seems like this is one art world controversy that’s bringing smiles to at least a few faces.

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