Jeff Koons £35,000 glass balloon dog smashed by gallery visitor who mistook it for real balloon
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A visitor had a shock mixup, causing her to accidentally smash a $42,000 (£34,870) ‘balloon dog’ art piece created by Jeff Koons. Koons is an American painter and sculptor, and among his most famous pieces are glass sculptures resembling balloon animals.
One such piece was on display at the Bel-Air Fine Art booth at Art Wynwood in Miami, for a VIP preview, on Thursday (February 16) when a visitor mistook the artwork for a balloon dog. According to witnesses at the gallery, one visitor tapped the glass balloon with her finger, mistaking it for a real balloon animal.
Before realising her mistake, the glass sculpture fell off its pedestal and smashing to pieces on the gallery floor. The ruined sculpture shards then had to be swept up by staff, with horrified onlookers present.
In a comment to Fox News, eyewitness and artist Stephen Gramson said: “I saw this woman was there, and she was tapping [the sculpture], and then the thing fell over and shattered into thousands of pieces.”
According to Bénédicte Caluch, art advisor at Bel-Air Fine Art, the unnamed woman, who is an art collector, won’t have to pay for the ruined piece, as it is considered an accident and will be covered by insurance. Talking to the Miami Herald, he said: “It was an event. Everybody came to see what happened.”
Talking to the New York Times, an associate of Bel-Air Fine Arts’ galleries, Cédric Boero, said: “Life just stopped for 15 minutes with everyone around, like security.” He added the woman had apologised, saying: “She said, ‘I’m very, very sorry,’ and she just wanted to disappear.”
The balloon was part of a 799 piece sculpture collection, and Mr Boero joked the number is now down to 798. “That’s a good thing for the collectors,” he added.