Banana artwork worth $120K eaten by ‘hungry’ visitor at South Korea museum
It was low-hanging fruit.
An art installation that featured a ripe banana taped to a wall at a Seoul art museum was devoured by a college student, who defended himself by saying he was “hungry” after skipping breakfast.
The iconic artwork titled “Comedian,” by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, was on display as part an exhibition called “WE” at the Leeum Museum of Art, which specializes in traditional Korean art and contemporary art.
On Thursday, Noh Huyn-soo, a student at Seoul National University, was visiting the art showcase when he apparently got a hankering for the famous potassium-rich snack.
Noh’s impromptu feast lasted more than a minute and was caught on video, which showed the student unceremoniously peeling the artwork and enjoying his healthy treat previously valued at $120,000.
After snacking on the forbidden fruit, the ravenous museumgoer reattached the peel to the wall using the artist’s duct tape and calmly walked away.
Asked by museum officials why he wolfed down the edible artwork, the student reportedly said he had missed breakfast and was hungry, according to BBC News.
In a subsequent interview with the local news outlet KBS, Noh argued that “damaging a work of modern art could also be artwork.”
“Isn’t it taped there to be eaten?” Noh said.
Cattelan took the destruction of his artwork in stride, saying he had “no problem at all” with the visitor eating it.
At the artist’s direction, the banana is replaced by museum curators every two days.
This is not the first time that Cattelan’s viral artwork has been eaten.
In 2019, performance artist David Datuna gobbled up the world-famous banana after it sold for $120,000 at Art Basel in Miami.
Datuna cheekily remarked in an Instagram post: “I really love this installation. It’s very delicious.” Later, he denied that his actions amounted to vandalism and defended the stunt as a piece of performance art.
Leeum Museum said it will not hold Noh liable for chomping down the banana, which was later replaced with a fresh one.