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A Student Ate Maurizio Cattelan’s Infamous Banana Artwork Off a Museum Wall, Because ‘He Was Hungry’

The Seoul gallery-goer said he thought eating the banana "could also be [interpreted as] artwork."

Maurizio Cattelan banana eaten Han Haidan/Getty Images

One man’s art is another person’s daily source of potassium apparently.  

Last Thursday, a student from Seoul National University who was visiting the Leeum Museum of Art in South Korea took Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s installation off the wall and proceeded to eat it as a snack. Don’t worry, the work in question, entitled Comedian, is essentially just a banana that’s been duct-taped to a wall. The student, who has since been identified as Noh Huyn-soo, grabbed the fruit and scarfed it down before putting the peel back where he found it. He told the museum he “ate it because he was hungry,” reported CNN.  

Cattelan’s banana was replaced with a fresh one not long after. Per the artist’s instructions, the fruit is typically swapped out every two to three days. According to NPR, when Cattelan learned about the incident, he said, “No problem at all.” The museum told the media that it won’t be taking any legal action against the student. 

In speaking with Korean broadcaster KBS, Noh said that he thought “damaging a work of modern art could also be [interpreted as] artwork.” He added, “I thought it would be interesting. . .isn’t it taped there to be eaten?”  

The exhibition took the world by storm when it debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2019. At the time, it caused quite a stir on social media when it sold for a whopping $120,000. However, this isn’t the first time someone removed the yellow fruit from the wall to consume it. Performance artist David Datuna partook in a similar stunt that same year and ingested the banana Cattelan used for his installment. 

The work is currently on display at the Leeum Museum of Art as part of Cattelan’s solo exhibit, WE, which will run until July 16.  

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