Jeff Koons Balloon Dog sculpture accidentally broken by museum visitor

Jeff Koons Balloon Dog sculpture accidentally broken by museum visitor

A limited-edition balloon sculpture by Jeff Koons is no more.

Unveiled in 2021, Balloon Dog (Blue) was made of porcelain and measured 40x48x16cm. The shiny blue dog balloon figure, one of 799 ever created and estimated to be worth $42,000, shattered to the ground after it was accidentally knocked over by an art collector at Art Wynwood, a contemporary art fair in Miami, Florida.

Bel-Air Fine Art was displaying the piece at its booth. The gallery’s district manager, Cedric Boero, who was also managing the booth, issued a statement including news that the work was insured.

“Of course, it is heartbreaking to see such an iconic piece destroyed,” he said. “The collector never intended to break the sculpture, in fact she never touched it with her hands.

“Lots of people were on our booth, she gave unintentionally a little kick to the pedestal, which was enough to cause the sculpture to fall down.”

“This kind of thing unfortunately happens, that is why the artwork was covered by insurance,” he said.

Artist Stephen Gamson, who attended the event, described what happened on his Instagram and also shared a video.

“It shattered into a thousand pieces,” he wrote. “One of the most crazy things I’ve ever seen.”

Gamson also said he tried to buy the broken sculpture and that it had a “really cool story”.

Koons’s animal figures are some of the most valuable in the contemporary art world. He set a record for the most expensive work sold at an auction by a living artist after a silver rabbit sculpture sold for $91.1 million at Christie’s New York in 2019. In 2013, another one of his works — an orange balloon dog sculpture — sold for $58.4 million.

The artist has created different renditions of the balloon dogs, some of them towering more than three metres tall and others little more than 30cm, such as the sculpture that shattered.

BMW 8 x Jeff Koons – in pictures

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