MIAMI – Talk about breaking news.
A woman attending the Art Wynwood fair in Miami accidentally broke a balloon dog sculpture by Jeff Koons on Thursday night, the Miami Herald reported. The shiny, electric blue sculpture, valued at $42,000, was being displayed at Bel-Air Fine Art’s booth during the fair’s VIP Preview show, according to the newspaper.
The sculpture, which was about 16 inches tall and 19 inches long, was sitting on a transparent pedestal at the fair, where more than 50 galleries worldwide were showcasing their works, The New York Times reported.
Art Wynwood’s district manager, Cédric Boero, told CNN via email that the gallery is “one of the official representatives for the famous Jeff Koons balloon dogs sculptures.”
“Of course it is heartbreaking to see such an iconic piece destroyed,” Boero told the cable news network.
There have been 799 editions of the sculpture made, according to CNN.
A giant inflatable nylon version of the sculpture graced the stage for several Jay-Z concerts in 2017, the Times reported.
Boero said the piece fell after an unnamed art collector unintentionally kicked the pedestal during the fair’s opening cocktail hour.
“The collector never intended to break the sculpture, in fact she never touched it with her hands,” Boero wrote in his email. “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.”
“This kind of thing unfortunately happens, that is why the artwork was covered by insurance.”
The shattered sculpture drew gawkers who were enjoying the preview show before the unfortunate accident.
“When this thing fell to the ground, it was like how a car accident draws a huge crowd on the highway,” Stephen Gamson, a Wynwood-based artist and art collector, told the Herald.
“It was an event!” Bénédicte Caluch, an art advisor with Bel-Air Fine Art, told the newspaper. “Everybody came to see what happened. It was like when Banksy’s artwork was shredded.”
That painting artwork by the street artist was shredded after it was sold at an auction in 2018. The painting, called “Love is in the Bin” was originally titled “Girl With Balloon.”
Gamson’s version of the latest break involving a “balloon” was different than Boero’s, according to the newspaper. He said he had just pointed out the artwork to a friend when he saw the woman tap the sculpture, knocking it off its pedestal.
“Before I knew it, they were picking up the Jeff Koons pieces in a dustpan with a broom,” Gamson told the Times in a Saturday interview.
Koons, an American artist, is known for his pop culture references, according to the Herald. A large orange version of his “Balloon Dog” series was sold for $58.4 million in 2013, the newspaper reported.
His sculpture “Rabbit” sold for $91.1 million, one of the priciest pieces of art sold by a living artist, according to the Herald.
Koons did not respond to requests for comment.
According to the Times, Boero said the break has increased the piece’s rarity and value.
“That’s a good thing for the collectors,” he told the newspaper.
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