David Datuna hungry artist $120K duct taped banana food for thought. How a performance artist risked jail to prove a point and raise questions of what art really is and how to value art. Or not.
Maybe he should’ve just scrounged around for some $14.99 Art Basel overpriced peanuts instead?
Unfortunately for David Datuna that nagging hungry feeling (and free 24/7 PR) could now cost him the $120,000 the Dada concept item had sold for.
So how exactly does a $120K banana taste like?
And dare may we ask, how did the $120K banana taste? Nearly as good as the one I buy down the street from the street fruit vendor for 30 cents (but 25 cents if I bother to walk the extra block).
‘The banana tasted good. It tasted like $120,000,’ replied the du jour performance artist.
Hanging over Datuna’s head is whether he will now be charged or forced to pay the full amount that was paid for Maurizio Cattelan’s fruity artwork, “Comedian.”
Let’s think about it kids. You can devour a box of 25 cent bananas and you will probably still die anonymous- albeit very well fed. Then again for the price of $120K, you can eat a society ‘comedienne’ banana that lets you be part of the joke and the 24/7 media brouhaha. Which personally is what I would go for too. If I was stupid enough or simply bold enough to walk up to a wall and eat to my heart’s content.
Define art? Define value? Define money? It’s all bananas if you ask me
‘The money means nothing, just numbers and papers. It’s all about ideas,’ Datuna is reported to have said.
Which leads to the following awkward question. Is it still a crime even if one is performing for the cameras to eat a $120K artwork? Even if it looks, smells and tastes like a banana. Because that in essence is exactly what it is. Unless one believes otherwise.
Responded Datuna, ‘It’s not vandalism. I’m a performance artist and this is my performance.’
‘I said I’m ready for anything and you don’t scare me,’ our collective larger than life artist the provocateur said during Monday’s media free for all. ‘What’s gonna happen in the next few days, I don’t know.’
Spectacle aside. It may well be the joke is on society as we are forced to reckon with the idea of what money can buy us, what counts for ‘real art,’ and what value we ascribe to such art and who amongst us is willing to pay the dizzy sum of $120K or millions more for blue chip art, despite at the end of the day such art simply constitutes colored oil, canvas, and the idea and emotions of an artist long time dead.
Amid public consternation, and concerns that perhaps the $120K banana art work was never really worth more than the 30 cent banana down the street, the Perrotin gallery announced that it is ‘absolutely not pursuing any legal action” and “never had any plans to from the very beginning.’
‘No one from the gallery told this Art Basel attendee that he was going to jail,’ a spokeswoman insisted according to the nypost.
The spectacle of the banana and media hype: a parable
Regardless, Datuna says critics need to peel back layers of meaning in his headline-grabbing chow-down on Saturday.
‘This is the first time where an artist eats the concept of another artist,’ he said.
‘This is how artists talk to each other, we talk by art. This was his art and this was my performance.’
And this is how the media world makes money – we validate such amazing spectacles so the public can’t get enough and count our advertising dollars- the same way the Perrotin gallery and Datuna cash in on their ‘rock star’ status.
Media hype aside. How does it feel to be the one who ate the $120K banana anyway?
Explains Datuna while looking through his pockets for some peanuts to nibble on: ‘Everybody calls me ‘Banana Man’ now. I am not this banana eater person — I am an artist’.