The story of the $120,000 (eaten) banana just won’t end, and tonight it took another, even more surreal turn.
The now-iconic white wall that as recently as Saturday held a duct-taped banana – arguably the world’s most expensive – at Art Basel Miami Beach was “vandalized” on Sunday afternoon, forcing exhibitors to cover up the writing in red lipstick with a white cardboard. The banana, which attracted hundreds after it sold to an art collector for $120,000, was replaced with the phrase “Epstien (sic) didn’t kill himself,” written with red lipstick.
— Rudy Havenstein, Just the right amount of malarkey (@RudyHavenstein) December 9, 2019
According to the Miami Herald, the surreal scene confused those who were present in the gallery, most who assumed it was just another “art” performance: “This is the gallery where anyone can do art, right?” the man is heard saying in a video provided to the Miami Herald when a security guard confronted him.
— sacha-stephanie (@sachasteph_) December 8, 2019
Sacha Medici, 24, was strolling inside the Miami Beach Convention Center, hoping to spot Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s banana art piece, titled “Comedian,” which was eaten by a performance artist on Saturday afternoon.
“When we got to the wall, it was white and empty,” Medici said. “We saw this guy live-streaming… and he starts writing on the wall and I was like, ‘No way, there’s no way this guy is writing.”
Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said the incident was reported at 4:50 p.m. and a man they identified as 46-year-old Roderick Webber of Massachusetts was arrested on charges of criminal mischief. A spokesperson for Art Basel directed any questions to authorities. Katherine Wisniewski, spokesperson for the Emmanuel Perrotin art gallery, where the vandalized wall is located, said their gallery is not affiliated with Webber.
“If someone can eat the $120,000 banana and not get arrested, why can’t I write on the wall?” Webber shouted as he was escorted out of the convention center, according to a police report.
The duct-taped banana at Art Basel is gone and has been replaced with “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself,” which security quickly covered up. 😂 pic.twitter.com/nPtnuCm6sc
— Giancarlo Sopo (@GiancarloSopo) December 9, 2019
Medici said that as the man wrote on the wall, everyone around her stared and recorded videos on their phones. Some pointed out he had misspelled the last name of Jeffrey Epstein.
And since art imitates life, security promptly covered up the “Epstien didn’t kill himself” sign.
Earlier in the day, the infamous $150,000 banana duct-taped to a wall had disappeared again, this time because the gallery owners decided it was becoming an unsafe distraction, clearly anticipating an event such as this.
“We sincerely apologize to all the visitors of the fair who today will not be able to participate in Comedian,” Galerie Perrotin, where the work was being showcased, said in a statement early Sunday, the last day of the exhibition.
The Comedian is the name of the work by the Italian artist provocateur Maurizio Cattelan, composed of a ripe banana, duct tape and a 14-page manual for its installation and upkeep.
As we reported yesterday, just before 2pm on Saturday another artist provocateur named David Datuna unpeeled tape and skin and ate the banana. “Art performance,” he said. He was a “hungry artist,” adding that it was “delicious.”
In its statement, Art Basel thanked the security guards who helped control the lines to see the banana – or the concept of transience of oblong yellow fruit or something, as Bloomberg put it. In short, enough was enough.
“The installation caused several uncontrollable crowd movements and the placement of the work on our booth compromised the safety of the artwork around us, including that of our neighbors,” the statement said. “Comedian, with its simple composition, ultimately offered a complex reflection of ourselves,” it said.
No it didn’t: it was a damn banana duct-taped to a wall and some idiots thought it was worth $150,000.
So to summarize:
- Banana duct-taped to a wall sells for $150,000
- Someone eats the banana
- Someone writes Epstein didn’t kill himself
- Security covers up the message.
Not even the Fed could come up with a fake version of reality as warped as this one.