What Happened When an Art Student Ate a $160,000 Banana at a Museum

Art and controversy often go hand in hand, but a recent incident at a museum in South Korea took things to a new level. Here’s what happened when an art student ate a banana worth $160,000 at a museum.

The Story Behind the Comedian Artwork

The artwork in question is called Comedian and it was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. It consists of a real banana duct-taped to a white wall. The artwork was first exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2019, where it was priced at $120,000. Later, it was sold to a collector for $150,000 and displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The banana-taped artwork became a sensation, attracting crowds and sparking debates about the value of contemporary art and the role of humor in it. Some critics hailed it as a clever satire of the art world’s excesses and absurdities, while others dismissed it as a cheap gimmick.

The Incident at the Museum

Fast forward to 2023, and the Comedian artwork made its way to the Leeum Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea. That’s where an unnamed art student decided to take a bite out of the banana, claiming he was too hungry to resist.

The student, who was dressed in a dark suit, was filmed casually peeling the tape off the wall, and then proceeding to peel the banana and eat it in front of the camera. The act was quickly noticed by the museum staff and reported to the artist.

The museum promptly replaced the banana with a new one, as the fruit art is typically refreshed every few days. The museum also issued a statement saying that the artist had been informed of the incident, but didn’t expect any charges to be filed against the student. The statement also mentioned that the student claimed eating the banana was an artistic act in itself.

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Reactions to the Incident

The incident at the Leeum Museum of Art in Seoul sparked a mix of reactions, ranging from amusement to outrage. Some people saw it as a harmless prank or a performance art piece, while others decried it as a disrespectful and wasteful act of vandalism.

The student’s claim that eating the banana was an artistic act was met with skepticism by some critics, who argued that it was a flimsy excuse for a thoughtless act. They pointed out that art is not just about doing something outrageous or shocking, but about creating meaning and context.

Others, however, saw the incident as a subversive commentary on the commodification of art and the arbitrary nature of its value. They noted that the Comedian artwork itself was a parody of the art market, and that eating the banana could be seen as a further subversion of its supposed worth.


The incident of the art student eating a $160,000 banana at a museum in South Korea may have been a bizarre and controversial act, but it also raises interesting questions about the nature of art, value, and interpretation. While some may dismiss it as a silly stunt, others may see it as a provocative statement on the relationship between art and society. In any case, it’s clear that the Comedian artwork and its banana-taped form will continue to generate reactions and discussions for years to come.

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