David Datuna, 2012
|Born||February 10, 1974|
|Known for||Sculpture, installation; consuming the banana from Comedian|
|USA-Viewpoints of Millions |
Love of Millions
Make America Stronger Together
David Datuna (Georgian: დეივიდ დათუნა; born February 10, 1974, Tbilisi, Georgia) is a Georgian-born American artist living in New York City. He is known for the Viewpoint of Millions series which 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.
In January 2012, Datuna unveiled an installment in the Viewpoint of Millions art project, titled Viewpoint of Millions: Israel Beyond a Dream in Palm Beach, Florida. The artwork consisted of an Israeli flag triptych assembled in Datuna's style of cascading optical lenses, which represented the past, present and future of Israel. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork were donated to the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.
In 2012, Datuna, together with Global Art Group and Mironova Art Gallery donated a portrait of Natalia Vodianova created out of Robert Indiana's LOVE symbol to Vodianova's Naked Heart Foundation charity auction. The work brought in $790,000. This was the second consecutive year of Datuna's involvement with the Naked Heart Foundation. In 2011, he donated his installation Chaotic Past, which sold for over $100,000 to Irina Viner, wife of Alisher Usmanov, a Russian billionaire, art collector and majority Arsenal shareholder.
In December 2013, Datuna became the first artist to incorporate Google Glass into a contemporary work of art. The artwork debuted at a private event at The New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida during the SIME MIA conference. The artwork moved to the Miami Design District for the public debut. The event lasted five days with over 1500 people from around the world trying on Google Glass and seeing Datuna's American flag from his Viewpoint of Billions series during Art Basel Week in Miami. The piece also displayed at the Lincoln Center in New York. It is the first of ten flags in the Viewpoint of Billions series.
On October 18, 2016 Datuna unveiled  his Make America Stronger Together installation at the doorstep of Trump Tower in New York City. The artist has combined the themes MAKE AMERICA (Donald Trump) with STRONGER TOGETHER (Hillary Clinton) representing a divided nation, and created two monumental works of art with the hope to bring the divided nation closer. The 10 X 20-foot mixed-media sculpture was created in Datuna's signature style contrasting different points of view challenging a fragmented contemporary culture. The work consists of two American flags facing back-to-back covered in a collage of newspapers, quotes, and images reflecting the current climate with the messages "SOS" and "ONE."
On October 31, 2016, Datuna flew both presidential candidates to the Statue of Liberty in an art performance connected to the Make America Stronger Together installation. Datuna chose the New York City landmark for it being the most iconic symbol of American values and its unique status as the beacon of hope for the world. Following his battle with cancer, Datuna established The Fund for Life, a philanthropic organization dedicated to fighting fatal diseases worldwide. In conjunction with the Fund, David also established the Life Award, which is given to corporations and individuals for exceptional contributions to sustaining and saving of human lives. The first recipient of the Life Award became Gilead Sciences, Inc. for its work in Georgia in combating the hepatitis C epidemic.
On June 8, 2017, Datuna created a 10-foot ice sculpture of Donald Trump's name  in response to U.S. president's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. Sculpture and the art performance was called This Too Shall Pass.
On December 13, 2017 he presented his rendition of the flag of Saudi Arabia to His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al Faisal, the Governor of the Western Provence, as a gift from the Americans to the people of Saudi Arabia. Titled Saudi Arabia - Viewpoint of Billions this mixed media sculpture is Datuna's call for closer human ties between the two countries, with art paving the way to better understanding, acceptance, and unity. This project was done in close cooperation and with support from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh and the Ministry of Culture and Information of Saudi Arabia.
Datuna: Portrait of America
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.
It was released to the public via YouTube on 4 July 2017.
On 7 December 2019, David Datuna ate a banana taped to a wall at Art Basel Miami. The banana was an installation by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled Comedian and previously sold for $120,000. David called his act an "art performance" and named it Hungry Artist. He commented that he loves Maurizio Cattelan's artwork and really loves this installation, adding that it was very delicious. Meanwhile 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.
In October 2012, Datuna's solo exhibition titled Emblem and Image featured a portrait of President Barack Obama that traced the arc of African-American political and social experience over 150 years.
In October 2013, Datuna opened his Moscow exhibition, Eye to Eye, near Red Square at the Vetoshny Art Center, presented by Gallery Shchukin, where images of Russian icons and leaders like Vladimir Putin and Tsar Nicolas II were reinterpreted through optical lenses.
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- David Datuna creates Georgian flag's optical illusion
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to David Datuna.|
- Official website
- Datuna: Portrait of America on YouTube
- [dead link] Itar-Tass Interview with David Datuna]
- Washington Post on Art Basel Miami Beach
- Google Glass x Interactive Art at SIME MIA
- Google Glass Takes Art Basel: Artist David Datuna Lets You Try on a Pair
- World's first Glass activated contemporary art to premier at SIME MIA