(Newsweek) The gallery wall that featured the $120,000 artwork of a duct-taped banana at Art Basel Miami has been vandalized with lipstick—a day after the banana itself was eaten by an artist.
Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian was one of the most visited exhibits at the international art fair in Miami Beach last week. Two pieces quickly sold to collectors for $120,000 and a third edition will be sold to a museum after the price was raised to $150,000, Artnet reported.
The Miami Herald reported that on Sunday afternoon, the wall where the work was displayed was vandalized with the phrase “Epstien (sic) didn’t kill himself” written in red lipstick. Exhibitors later covered up the writing with a piece of white cardboard, according to the newspaper.
Roderick Webber, 46, was arrested on charges of criminal mischief after security guards called police to the scene just before 5 p.m. on Sunday, Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez told Newsweek. “This is the gallery where anyone can do art, right?” Webber said after being confronted by a security guard, according to the Herald.
The incident came a day after the work, presented by the Paris-based Perrotin gallery, made headlines when artist David Datuna pulled the ripe banana off the wall and ate it in full view of visitors.
The phrase “Epstein didn’t kill himself” has popped up regularly since his death in August as conspiracy theories have swirled challenging the medical examiner’s determination that Epstein took his own life and fueled by Epstein’s past ties to powerful figures, including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Britain’s Prince Andrew.