A banana duct-taped to the wall at a posh art gallery and valued at N54 million ($150,000) has ended up in the stomach of "hungry artist", David Datuna.

Italian artist, Maurizio Cattelan, had bought bananas at a grocery store in Miami, Florida and duct-taped to Emmanuel Perrotin's gallery wall at Art Basel Miami Beach, a high-profile contemporary art fair.

Italian artist, Maurizio Cattelan [Tullio M Puglia/Getty Images for Lavazza]
Italian artist, Maurizio Cattelan [Tullio M Puglia/Getty Images for Lavazza]

The single overripe banana duct-taped to the wall, titled 'Comedian', went viral last week after Perrotin claimed two editions of the art piece had been sold for $120,000 each.

The gallery and artist then decided to sell a third edition to any interested museum for $150,000.

Unlike dozens of art lovers who have flocked the gallery to take pictures with the artwork, Datuna, a New York-based performance artist, walked up to the duct-taped banana on Saturday, December 7, 2019, peeled it off the wall and ate it, apparently unauthorised.

Fairgoers take pictures of Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian, for sale from Perrotin at Art Basel Miami Beach [Sarah Cascone]
Fairgoers take pictures of Maurizio Cattelan's Comedian, for sale from Perrotin at Art Basel Miami Beach [Sarah Cascone]

"Art performance. Hungry Artist," Datuna said as he ate the banana before he was approached by Peggy Leboeuf, a partner at Perrotin, who questioned him, "Are you kidding?"

"No," Datuna replied.

The artist was not arrested but his details were taken down and he was immediately asked to leave the fair. Leboeuf said it's unlikely the gallery will press for action against the artist.

David Datuna left fairgoers confused when he took several bites out of the pricey banana [Dazed]
David Datuna left fairgoers confused when he took several bites out of the pricey banana [Dazed]

The banana was replaced minutes later as the work comes with a Certificate of Authenticity that allows owners to replace the banana.

Police officers have been deployed to guard the replacement banana, according to the BBC.

Datuna posted a clip of the incident on his Instagram page and described the artwork as "very delicious".

"I love Maurizio Cattelan artwork and I really love this installation," his caption read.

He said in another posted video that his action was not about publicity.

Cattelan, the artist behind the banana, made headlines in September 2019 when another one of his artworks, a toilet made entirely from 18-carat-gold, was stolen from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England.

The fully functioning toilet, titled "America", was installed as part of an exhibition and said to be worth around $6 million. Six people have been arrested and questioned in connection to the theft.