Art Basel banana: An 'iconic historical object,' buyers say

The art-buying couple say they're "acutely aware" the piece is "perishable"

The new owners of an art piece consisting of a banana duct-taped to a wall predicted that it will become an "iconic historical object," according to Page Six.

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Art collectors Billy and Beatrice Cox bought the piece by artist Maurizio Cattelan for $120,000 last week, when it was the talk of the town at Art Basel in Miami Beach, Florida.

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"We are acutely aware of the blatant absurdity of the fact that 'Comedian' is an otherwise inexpensive and perishable piece of produce and a couple of inches of duct tape," the couple said in a statement. The banana has to be replaced every two days, according to Page Six.

"When we saw the public debate [the Cattelan piece] sparked about art and our society, we decided to purchase it. We knew we were taking a risk, but ultimately we sense that Cattelan's banana will become an iconic historical object," they said.

A woman poses for a photo next to a banana attached with duct-tape that replaces the artwork 'Comedian' by the artist Maurizio Cattelan, which was eaten by David Datuna, in Miami Beach, Florida, December 7, 2019. REUTERS/Eva Marie Uzcategui TPX IMAGE

"[P]eople who usually would not have been so interested in art wanted to see 'the banana.' It has opened the floodgates and morphed into an important debate about the value we place on works of art and objects in general," the couple said.

But Cattelan's piece didn't just generate spectacle because of its ironic nature.

An artist who plucked the banana from the wall and ate it – the day before someone else scrawled a message about Jeffrey Epstein on the wall in its place – said Monday he did it because he "wanted to make fun of the art society."

New York City-based David Datuna waltzed up to Cattelan's "Comedian," which had already been sold for a whopping amount, on Saturday and pulled the duct tape from the wall before unpeeling the banana and taking a bite.

"Art performance, hungry artist," he said, taking one bite, and then another. “With respect, Mauricio, but it's art performance."

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Datuna posted three videos of the "performance" and its aftermath on his Instagram page.

"I did this because it’s about art, art about fun. He makes fun of us, I make fun of him. So, we're even now," he told FOX Business.  "Art, contemporary, is about concept … all about concept. My performance is also about concept. He put [a] question mark, if banana can be art. I put my question mark on the top of his question mark."

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FOX Business' Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.