It’s been a crazy week at Miami’s Art Basel.
First, a work of “art” — a banana duct-taped to a wall — sold for $120,000. Then, a guy ate it right off the wall.
And then, another guy scrawled a message in lipstick where the banana had once hung — “Epstien [sic] didn’t kill himself.”
That’s a crazy week.
The banana piece, crafted by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan and titled “Comedian,” drew headlines when it was sold to a French collector for $120,000. Cattelan made news earlier this year when another artwork, an 18-karat solid gold working toilet titled “America,” was stolen by burglars from its exhibit in Britain’s Blenheim Palace.
Over the weekend, artist David Datuna walked up to the exhibit, pulled the banana off the wall, and ate it. He said he was doing an “art performance” and called himself a “hungry artist.” Of course it was all caught on video.
“I love Maurizio Cattelan artwork and I really love this installation,” he later captioned a post on his Instagram page. “It’s very delicious.”
In the video, gallery Director Peggy Leboeuf can be heard asking, “Are you kidding? This is so stupid.”
“No,” Datuna says.
Leboeuf told the BBC that Datuna was asked to leave the exhibit but not arrested. “We can go further, but I don’t think we will,” she said.
Then Roderick Webber, 46, from Massachusetts, used the empty wall space for his own work of art, writing in red lipstick: ‘”Epstien [sic] didn’t kill himself.”
— sacha-stephanie (@sachasteph_) December 8, 2019
Webber was quickly arrested. As he was escorted out of the Miami Beach gallery, he shouted: “If someone can eat the $120,000 banana and not get arrested, why can’t I write on the wall?” the Daily Mail reported.
The “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself” meme has been sweeping the country ever since the convicted pedophile was found dead in his prison cell on August 10. Epstein had been facing charges of trafficking and sexually abusing dozens of girls, some as young as 14, for more than a decade. Some high-level politicians, including Bill Clinton, and prominent individuals, including the UK’s Prince Andrew, had ties with Epstein.
For instance, rapper Suffa declared “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself” during an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony in Australia last month.
“I’m going to get out a few thank yous because I think this is the last time you’re going to see us. To our road crew Mugga, Pauly, Snebs, everyone, you’re all legends and we love you. Thanks to our wives, our children. And Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself. Thank you,” Suffa said at the ARIA Music Awards in Sydney.
Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar once shared the meme in a series of 23 tweets in which the first letter of each tweet spelled out the phrase.
But wait. The art house made even more headlines when Madonna’s daughter Lourdes “Lola” Leon stripped off her clothes and, wearing just a nude thong and pasties, joined about 30 other people who were modeling clothing in a simulated orgy.
Now that’s a crazy week.