The $120,000 banana: how to have your art and eat it

Amy Bryzgel

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


For his latest work at the international Art Basel fair, Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan bought a banana, duct-taped it to the wall of the gallery and called it Comedian. Over the weekend, American artist David Datuna upped the ante when he created a performance piece entitled Hungry Artist, wherein he ate the banana. A video of the performance appears on his Instagram account, where he comments that he loves Cattelan’s work, adding “it’s very delicious”.

Within days of its installation, two collectors had purchased it for US$120,000 each and several museums are bidding for the third edition for US$150,000. Datuna eating the banana changed nothing, because the work of art is the idea, confirmed by the certificate of authenticity, which is what the buyers really purchased.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Amy Bryzgel has received funding from the Leverhulme Trust, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Royal Society of Edinburgh, British Academy, and Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.


  • Performance art
  • Andy Warhol
  • Modern Art
  • Marcel Duchamp


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