Whoops! Visitor smashes $60,000 Koons balloon dog sculpture
The scene 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.
As an art collector, he spotted an opportunity and asked a woman working at the gallery if she was willing to sell him the broken pieces. He said she was still mulling the offer.
There are thousands of Koons’ balloon dog sculptures across the world in shades of orange, red, magenta, yellow and blue.
Some of these dog sculptures tower above 3 metres tall, while others stand at a mere 25 centimetres. A giant inflatable nylon version of the sculpture decorated the stage for several Jay-Z concerts in 2017.
Koons did not respond to requests for comment. Last year, he said that his next major project involved sending mini-sculptures to the moon.
Gallerists and museum curators must strike a balance between making works accessible and protecting them from a well-meaning, but perhaps absent-minded, public. In recent years, observers of historical relics and sculptures have damaged an 800-year-old coffin, a sculptural wall clock and an illuminated pumpkin.
Cédric Boero is the district manager for France and business development at Bel-Air Fine Art galleries, which was presenting the sculpture. He was managing their booth at the art fair when he heard a loud noise and saw that the sculpture had crashed to the floor.
“Life just stopped for 15 minutes with everyone around, like security,” he said on Saturday.
Boero said that in the aftermath of the fall, while he was speaking with fair organisers, one of his colleagues spoke to the woman who knocked over the sculpture. “She said, ‘I’m very, very sorry,’ and she just wanted to disappear,” he said.
The shards of the sculpture are now stored in a box, waiting for an insurance company to review them, said Boero, who had a diplomatic outlook on the incident.
He noted, with a laugh, that the number of these blue balloon dog sculptures had now shrunk to 798, from 799, increasing their rarity and therefore value. “That’s a good thing for the collectors,” he said.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.