Sometimes your hunger gets the best of you. For years, Snickers has run ads saying, “you just aren’t yourself when you’re hungry.”
For Noh Huyn-soo, while visiting Seoul’s Leeum Museum of Art, the banana just looked too good to pass up.
It turned out the banana was a $120,000 piece of art.
The art in question, Comedian, is a (frequently replaced) duct-taped banana that is meant to evoke everything from Charlie Chaplin’s slapstick comedy to the fruit’s status as an emblem of global trade.
It spoke to Noh Huyn-soo in simpler terms, reminding him that he had skipped breakfast that morning. So as his visit to Seoul’s Leeum Museum of Art stretched past noon late last week, Noh seized the yellow fruit and ate it, ignoring the alarmed cry of a museum staffer.
It took Noh around 1 minute to yank the banana and eat it. When he was done, he reattached the peel to its spot on the wall.
Noh told the museum that he ate the art because he was hungry, according to Korean public broadcaster KBS, which aired a video of his actions that was recorded by his friend.
Noh described in The Guardian what happened on that fateful day:
“Entry to the gallery was free. There were a lot of visitors, and about 10 people were standing around Comedian. The atmosphere inside the museum was calm. Interestingly, when I got close to another artwork to see it more clearly an alarm sounded and the guards stopped me. But when I approached Comedian, there was no alarm. So there was nothing stopping me when I pulled off the tape to remove the banana from the wall and peeled it.
I ate the banana at 12.30pm on Thursday 27 April. I think they exhibited it so that someone would eventually eat it. I wasn’t feeling much at the time, but I remember the taste. One of my tutors later asked if the banana was delicious, and I told him it was fresh, fresher than I thought it would be. I ate it as I would normally eat a banana. Nobody tried to stop me.
After I finished, I placed the banana skin under the tape on the wall. Then, a guard said, “excuse me”, but didn’t try to restrain me in any way. I talked to the guards. They looked embarrassed.”
One man’s art is another man’s breakfast.