David Datuna

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The Art Basel Banana Man

David Datuna

David was born in Tblisi, Georgia, in 1984, he is a Georgian born American artist living in New York City. He is known for his viewpoint of millions series which explores the sources and meaning of cultural identity from the viewers unique point of view.

He is one of only two artists who have had solo exhibitions at the Smithsonian institute in Washington DC. He has collaborated with multinational companies, including but not limited to Google Glass, New World Symphony, SCOPE miami, Art Basel, Miami Design District, The Lincoln Center.

In 2015 filmmakers Michael Huter and Brian Bayerl produced a documentary about David called Datuna: Portrait of America. The film tells the story of Datuna’s escape from the repression of the former USSR to pursue his dream of cultural and artistic freedom in America. The filmmakers followed him as he worked on the first-ever artwork that fused contemporary art with wearable technology—all the while battling a potentially fatal cancer diagnosis. The movie received the Best Film Award at the Raindance Film Festival in London, and Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival. It was released to the public via YouTube on 4 July 2017.

On 7 December 2019, Datuna ate the banana installed as part of Comedian, by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, which had recently sold for $120,000 at Art Basel Miami. Datuna called his intervention an act of “art performance”, dubbed Hungry Artist. He commented that he loves Maurizio Cattelan’s artwork and really loves this installation, adding that it was very delicious. Galerie Perrotin, which was exhibiting the work, replaced the banana consumed by Datuna and stated that the value of the piece was the “idea”, not the physical banana.

David was quoted in the Guardian as saying “Warhol put banana on a canvas…Cattelan takes a real banana and puts it on the wall. David took banana from the wall and ate it!” David quickly went viral, and is now giving interviews to news outlets all over the world.

His art is focused on the convergence of art and social consciousness. He is most widely known for his Viewpoint of Millions series that explores the sources and meaning of cultural identity from each unique point of view. Datuna’s signature technique in Viewpoint of Millions is a network of positive and negative optical lenses suspended over a large-scale layered, collaged, and painted image. The mixed-media palette often includes photography, newspaper articles, magazine clippings, paint, and color.

The prismatic surface both hides and reveals the work below, while the lenses symbolize individual identity, illusion, perception, fragmentation, and unification. Portraits, flags, and icons are recurring themes within the Viewpoint of Millions series. Datuna’s artwork is a political, cultural, and commercial commentary on our current collective consciousness. To find out more, visit the news section of Datuna’s website.

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