A dainty sculpture by artist Jeff Koons meant to look like a blue balloon dog is now a whole lot of pieces after it was knocked off its pedestal and promptly shattered.
The incident took place at Art Wynwood in Miami during a VIP reception on Feb. 16. according to The New York Times.
Koons sculpts pieces of all sizes to look like dogs made out of balloons. The piece on display was titled “Balloon Dog (Blue)” and was valued at about $42,000, according to CNN.
Here’s another reminder to never. touch. the. art. https://t.co/nZCAeGPx2a
— Complex (@Complex) February 19, 2023
It was about 16 inches tall and 19 inches long and had been sitting atop a large, transparent rectangle, according to the Times.
Until it was no longer there.
“Before I knew it, they were picking up the Jeff Koons pieces in a dustpan with a broom,” art collector Stephen Gamson told the Times.
The aftermath of the accident was “kind of like a car accident on the highway, where people start looking and then there’s traffic and then it becomes this big thing,” Gamson said.
ICYMI: A gallery-goer in Miami accidentally tipped over the famed balloon dog sculpture by Jeff Koons, smashing it into pieces pic.twitter.com/P8Vcdd5Hb5
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 26, 2023
In an emailed statement, the gallery’s district manager, Cédric Boero, said the destruction of the piece was an accident, according to CNN.
“Of course it is heartbreaking to see such an iconic piece destroyed,” Boero wrote, noting that a collector kicked the pedestal that the sculpture had rested upon.
“The collector never intended to break the sculpture, in fact she never touched it with her hands.”
Breaking News: A woman accidentally knocked over a balloon dog sculpture by Jeff Koons at an art fair in Miami, causing the $42,000 artwork to shatter, witnesses said. https://t.co/NVXY8D7srU
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 18, 2023
“It was the opening cocktail, lots of people were on our booth, she gave unintentionally a little kick in the pedestal, which was enough to cause the sculpture to fall down,” Boero wrote.
Boero told the Times that the woman spoke to one of the staff members at the gallery.
“She said, ‘I’m very, very sorry,’ and she just wanted to disappear,” he said.
He also noted that the damage means that instead of 799 versions of the sculpture in existence, there are now only 798, which actually increases the value of the sculptures that remain available to the collecting community, according to the Times.
The shards were put in a box for review by the insurance company, according to the Times.
Gamson said he wants to buy the pieces, according to the Miami Herald.
“I find value in it even when it’s broken. To me, it’s the story. It makes the art even more interesting,” he said.
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