$200,000 Banana Artwork Eaten By Student Who Claimed That He Was “Hungry”


Modern art is fascinating.

While we may never understand how canvases with toddler-like scrawls at art museums with creative names like “Untitled” can be worth more than an HDB flat, we still know not to touch the displays, let alone damage them.

However, not everyone gets the memo.

On 27 April in Seoul, South Korea, a college student named Noh Huyn-soo decided to peel an art display off the Leeum Museum of Art wall and eat it.

The artwork in question was a banana duct-taped to the wall, an art installation known as “Comedian” by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

This a-peel-ing banana is worth around S$200,000, which could probably buy you a whole plot of land in a banana plantation.

The incident was recorded by Noh’s friend. In a video that lasts just over a minute, Noh can be seen removing the banana from the duct tape and eating it defiantly in front of the wall from which he nabbed the fruit.


After getting his daily dose of potassium, Noh tapes the banana peel back to the wall and gestures to it with a flourish before walking off.

You can watch the video of the act here:

When asked what prompted him to do it, Noh said that he was hungry and had skipped breakfast.


The Culprit is an Art Major

While the destruction of public property might get us the rotan, Noh has a different take on his actions.

As an art major himself from Seoul National University, Noh is no stranger to giving acts of defiance an artistic edge.

In an interview, he claims that he saw “Comedian” as an act of rebellion, and likewise, eating the banana was rebellion against rebellion.

Rebellion-ception, if you will.

“Isn’t it taped there to be eaten?” he challenges.

Not The First Time This Happened

A similar incident occurred in 2019 during the Miami franchise of Art Basel, which is an internationally-held contemporary art fair.

Performance artist David Datuna had also pulled the banana off the “Comedian” installation and eaten it in a stunt he called “Hungry Artist”.

Datuna posted a video of himself on Instargram eating the banana with the caption, “I love Maurizio Cattelan artwork and I really love this installation. It’s very delicious.”

Launching his own art exhibition in February 2020 after the stunt, Datuna displayed Warhol-esque portraits of himself eating the banana in Galleria Ca’d’Oro in New York.

In an Instagram post that I’m not even going to pretend I understand, Datuna called his exhibition “a new way of communication and a revolution of consciousness. What we perceive as materialism is nothing but social conditioning. Any meaningful interaction with an object could turn it to art.”


“No problem at all.”: Maurizio Cattelan 

While some of us might feel indignant on behalf of the artist for having his artwork destroyed, Cattelan is surprisingly chill.

He called the incident in South Korea “no problem at all”.

The museum will also not claim any damages against the student.

As it is, Cattelan instructed the museum to replace the banana every two to three days, so Noh just beat them to it.

Cattelan’s “Comedian” is not the only artwork of his that’s had people tamper with it before.

Known for his controversial art style, Cattelan enjoys stirring the pot… well, toilet bowl. In 2016, he created an art piece called “America”, a fully-functioning toilet made of 18-karat gold.


The golden toilet was displayed in the Guggenheim Museum in New York until it was transferred to the Blenheim Palace in England on loan. It was reported stolen in September 2019.

But not even that seemed to faze Cattelan. Speaking on the incident, he joked, “I always liked heist movies and finally I’m in one of them.”

This act is reminiscent of a more recent gold heist closer to home. On 23 April, a 14-year-old boy stole two gold chains worth $23,000 from a jewellery store and made a run for it.

The store owners caught him and he claimed to have only done the act because two tattooed men were threatening him.

How much cash are you getting in December 2023 from the Government? Here are the facts simplified for you:

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