Our daily round-up of news from the art world
Performance artist eats Maurizio Cattelan banana in Miami | An art installation by Maurizio Cattelan, priced at $120,000 and comprised of a banana duct-taped to the wall of Galerie Perrotin’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach, was publicly eaten on Saturday afternoon (7 December) by a performance artist called David Datuna. The banana was quickly replaced but the artwork itself, Comedian, was removed from the booth on Sunday morning; a statement from the gallery explained that it was attracting ‘uncontrollable crowds’. Datuna, who has named the incident ‘Hungry Artist’, was quickly escorted off the premises but Perrotin has decided not to press charges.
Maori carvings to return to New Zealand after 130 years | A group of carvings from Hinemihi, a Maori meeting house that has stood in the grounds of Clandon Park since 1892, when the structure was brought to England by the 4th Earl of Onslow, are to be returned by the National Trust. The charity has now agreed in principle to an exchange with Historic New Zealand for contemporary carvings, in response to a restitution request made in 2017 by Historic New Zealand on behalf of the people of Rotorua. Since the meeting house is a listed building, the National Trust must await approval from the UK authorities; if approved, it will be the first restitution in the history of the Trust.
MOCA in Los Angeles to recognise workers’ union | The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles agreed last Friday to recognise a new workers’ union, representing some 120 members of staff. The campaign to unionise began on 22 November, but was initially resisted by the museum’s management. The museum’s voluntary decision means its employees are now able to bypass a formal National Labor Relations Board election; the union will be verified instead by an independent party, allowing contract negotiations over wages and salaries to begin sooner than expected.
Donald B. Marron (1934–2019) | Wall Street financier and prominent art collector and patron Donald B. Marron has died at the age of 85. Marron was a trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, which named its new second-floor atrium after him and his wife, Catie Marron, in 2004. In 1985 he was elected president of MoMA’s board, serving in the role until he was named president emeritus in 1991. He was also vice chairman of the board of the California Institute of the Arts, and a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.