In 1917, Marcel Duchamp caused a bit of a stir in the art world when he attempted to enter a piece dubbed Fountain at an exhibition organized by the Society of Independent Artists, which declined to include the piece in the show because it was literally a urinal he’d bought in New York City.
That stunt played a major role in furthering the mission of the Dada Movement championed by the creative minds who took great pride in an early 20th-century form of trolling that was intended to make people question what the definition of “art” truly is.
That philosophy continues to permeate a lot of the pieces many people associate with the “modern art” genre; most professional critics would tell you there’s a reason paintings from Mark Rothko sell for tens of millions of dollars, but there’s still a good chunk of laymen who view his minimalist works and think “What’s the big deal? I could do that if I wanted to.”
That was basically the reaction Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan was able to generate at Art Basel in 2019 when he became the talk of the festival thanks to Comedian, an installation that went viral because it was literally a banana duct-taped to a wall.
Cattelan was able to sell two certified versions of the piece for $120,000, which resulted in another artist understandably causing a bit of a stir when he casually took the banana off the wall and ate it.
WATCH: Man eats banana 'art work' that was duct-taped to a wall and sold for $120,000 at Art Basel in Florida; the man was escorted out by security pic.twitter.com/DEpUuROMnh
— BNO News (@BNONews) December 8, 2019
According to The Guardian, Noh Huyn-soo—a South Korean college student who went to view Comedian at the Leeum Museum in Seoul last week—followed in his footsteps, as he was filmed pulling the same move before taping the peel back to the wall last week.
Noh initially said he’d done it because he was hungry after skipping breakfast, but he eventually told The Korea Herald it was an orchestrated prank while asserting “damaging a work of modern art could also be artwork.”
Cattelan said he had no issue with what unfolded, which likely stems from the fact that the instructions for the installation state the museum should replace the banana with a new one every few days while it’s being exhibited.