How a duct-taped banana restored my faith in stupidity

I am in awe of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, who convinced three rich idiots in three separate transactions to cough up between 175,000 and 220,000 dollary-doos for a duct-taped banana on a wall over the weekend.

But I am truly, madly and deeply impressed by hungry performance artist Dave Datuna, who ate the half-million-dollar installation without warning, permission or a freshly cooked waffle swimming in chocolate sauce.

Gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin next to Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘Comedian’, prior to its consumption.Credit:AP

Some very important art people having written some deliciously toasty hot takes explaining why the original banana (And the duct tape! The duct tape is very important!) was indeed art. The New York Times' art critic, Jason Farago – yes, that is his name why do you ask? – confessed himself “a little hesitant” to deliver critical judgment on a work he hadn’t seen in person, but pronounced it nonetheless ironic, tragic and “a rich source of potassium”.

Mr Farago was less enamoured of Mr Datuna’s aggressive reinterpretation and, let's just get this out of the way, ingestion of Signor Cattelan’s attempt to “implicate himself within the economic, social and discursive systems that structure how we see and what we value”, but I suspect the original artist owes the lesser, dare I say derivative or even digestive, performer an appreciative butt pat in the old gallery dressing room when next they meet.

Datuna, scoffing the centrepiece of Cattelan’s speckled yellow objet d’art, immediately doubled or even tripled its value. The three complete idiots who paid for certificates of authenticity and instructions on how to mount their own bananas with store-bought duct tape turned out to be canny investors who should probably buy Datuna a beer, or at least another banana.

He guaranteed they will make back their money.

More importantly though, we all owe Cattelan and Datuna for distracting us from the onrushing death of our civilisation. For while we seem doomed to die choking on stupidity and ashes, the two artists remind us that our species' self-destructive stupidity needn’t always lead to mega-death and impotence and vast conflagrations of burning bushland.

Sometimes our foolishness is just for fun.

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