Last Thursday evening, tragedy befell an art fair in Miami, Florida. During a VIP preview of Art Wynwood, an anonymous collector unintentionally kicked the pedestal of a Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog” sculpture and smashed it beyond repair. Here's what you missed.
The event garnered hype everywhere, and much like his famous artworks, Koons’s shattered “Balloon Dog” seemed more valuable than ever before, with one user commenting that its shards were “probably worth a billion now.” It serves as a reminder that owning one of these sculptures has become a required purchase for any art collector but is also a warning to be mindful of such delicate treasures. Despite the tragedy, the gallery showing the work was able to recover from its loss as they had insured the sculpture. The woman expressed deep remorse after realizing what she had done and quickly tried to remove herself from the situation rather than face any judgement from onlookers.
Though it is devastating to see any artwork destroyed in this way, particularly when it was an accident, we must remember that Koons created 799 editions of this sculpture, and thousands can still be admired around the world today - extending far beyond just being another failed work forgotten by time. After the incident, the gallery shared photos of the shattered sculpture lying on the floor, reduced to scraps of ceramic. The pieces are currently waiting in a box to be evaluated by an insurance expert, while some generous collectors have offered to purchase them.
What are the chances the shattered pieces sell for double the original asking price?— Mark Rees (@reviewwales) February 18, 2023
"Woman accidentally breaks $42,000 Jeff Koons sculpture at Art Wynwood in Miami"https://t.co/RSilawkrPp #art pic.twitter.com/7wtXOgKTso
The 2021 piece was entitled "Balloon Dog (Blue)," and valued at around $42,000 - made of porcelain and measuring 40 x 48 x 16 cm in size. That particular sculpture was 1 of 799 editions Koons has created, but they remain some of the most iconic -- and expensive -- sculptures in the contemporary art world. His pieces have gone on to auction for jaw-dropping sums, including "Rabbit" (1986) at $91 million at Christie's New York in 2019 and "Balloon Dog (Orange)" (1994-2000) at $58.4 million six years earlier. The Balloon Dogs come in various sizes; from towering over 10 feet tall down to just over a foot like this one, making it all the more heartbreaking that such beautiful artwork could be so easily destroyed...