UNITED STATES. A woman tapped a small sculpture by well-known artist Jeff Koons, worth $42,000 (£35,000), on the opening night of an art fair in Miami.
The incident happened on Thursday during the VIP-only launch of the Art Wynwood contemporary art fair at the Bel-Air Fine Art gallery.
The woman, an unknown art collector, allegedly struck the blue sculpture, a part of Jeff Koons’ well-known “balloon dog” series, which subsequently crashed to the ground and broke into smithereens. The sculpture was placed on a pedestal with the name of the American artist.
Bewildered visitors crowded around the shards while Stephen Gamson, an art collector, captured the aftermath on camera. Some speculated that it may have been performance art or a staged act.
Gallery personnel quickly repelled the bystanders as they swept up the pieces.
The sculpture was insured, according to Benedicte Caluch, an art adviser with Bel-Air Fine Art, who funded the work and informed the Miami Herald that the woman would not be responsible for paying for the damage.
Caluch claimed it was merely an accident, whereas Gamson conjectured that the woman may have curiously touched the sculpture, possibly believing it to be a real balloon.
Gamson said that the incident was “one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen” when posting an old photo of himself and Koons to his Instagram account on Saturday.
Koons, a painter and sculptor who wasn’t present at the exhibition, finds inspiration in commonplace items like balloon animals. Even though his pieces have fetched as much as $91 million at auction, they contradict preconceived notions of high art.
His balloon dog sculptures are colorful, range in height from less than a foot (30 cm) to more than ten feet and are available in various sizes.
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