The story of the $120,000 (eaten) banana just won’t end, and tonight it took another, even more surreal turn.
The now-iconic white wall that as recently as Saturday held a duct-taped banana – arguably the world’s most expensive – at Art Basel Miami Beach was “vandalized” on Sunday afternoon, forcing exhibitors to cover up the writing in red lipstick with a white cardboard. The banana, which attracted hundreds after it sold to an art collector for $120,000, was replaced with the phrase “Epstien (sic) didn’t kill himself,” written with red lipstick.
— Rudy Havenstein, Just the right amount of malarkey (@RudyHavenstein) December 9, 2019
According to the Miami Herald, the surreal scene confused those who were present in the gallery, most who assumed it was just another “art” performance: “This is the gallery where anyone can do art, right?” the man is heard saying in a video provided to the Miami Herald when a security guard confronted him.
— sacha-stephanie (@sachasteph_) December 8, 2019
Sacha Medici, 24, was strolling inside the Miami Beach Convention Center, hoping to spot Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s banana art piece, titled “Comedian,” which was eaten by a performance artist on Saturday afternoon.
“When we got to the wall, it was white and empty,” Medici said. “We saw this guy live-streaming… and he starts writing on the wall and I was like, ‘No way, there’s no way this guy is writing.”
Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said the incident was reported at 4:50 p.m. and a man they identified as 46-year-old Roderick Webber of Massachusetts was arrested on charges of criminal mischief. A spokesperson for Art Basel directed any questions to authorities. Katherine Wisniewski, spokesperson for the Emmanuel Perrotin art gallery, where the vandalized wall is located, said their gallery is not affiliated with Webber.
“If someone can eat the $120,000 banana and not get arrested, why can’t I write on the wall?” Webber shouted as he was escorted out of the convention center, according to a police report.