Art Fair Visitor Broke $42,000 Balloon Dog Sculpture by Jeff Koons | Jeff Koon

A small sculpture worth $42,000 (£35,000) by renowned artist Jeff Koons was smashed on the opening night of an art fair in Miami by a woman who gave it a a little pat.

The incident happened at the Bel-Air Fine Art gallery during the VIP-only opening of contemporary art fair Art Wynwood on Thursday.

The blue sculpture, part of Koons’ famous “balloon dog” series, was perched on a pedestal bearing the American artist’s name when the woman – an unidentified art collector – allegedly tapped the sculpture, which then fell to the ground. and shattered.

Art collector Stephen Gamson filmed the aftermath, as bewildered guests gathered around the shards, some thinking it may have been performance art or a staged stunt.

“When this thing hit the ground, it was like a car crash bringing a huge crowd down the freeway,” Gamson told the Miami Herald.

A viewer can be heard in the footage saying, “Oh my God!” while another said, “Now you see this is the new art installation. Everything is art, isn’t it?

Gallery staff quickly chased away onlookers as staff swept the rooms.

Benedicte Caluch, artistic advisor at Bel-Air Fine Art, which sponsored the piece, told the Miami Herald that the sculpture was covered by insurance, so the woman wouldn’t have to foot the bill for damages.

It was just an accident, Caluch said, while Gamson speculated that the woman had tapped the sculpture out of curiosity, possibly thinking it was a real ball.

Sharing an old photo taken with Koons on his Instagram account on Saturday, Gamson wrote that the accident was “one of the craziest things I have ever seen”. “Anyway, I tried to buy the broken sculpture. It has a really cool story,” he added.

Koons, who was not present at the gallery, is a painter and sculptor who is inspired by everyday objects, including balloon animals. His works challenge notions of what art is, even though they have sold at auction for up to $91 million.

His balloon dog sculptures are brightly colored and range in size, from less than a foot (30cm) tall to over 10 feet tall, and come in bright colors.

It wasn’t the first time one of his dogs had been run over, however. In 2016, a mini magenta version of a balloon dog fell out of a display case at the Design Miami exhibit. Koons was philosophical about the accident, later telling the Page Six website: “It’s a shame when something like that happens but, you know, it’s just a china plate. We really luck when it’s just objects that break, when there are little accidents like that, because it can be replaced.

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