Breaking News: A woman accidentally smashed a $42,000 Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog” at an art fair in Miami, Florida. Shattered beyond repair, it’s one more hollow Koons piece swept into the trash heap of history.
According to the Miami Herald, which broke the news, the woman is an art collector who attended a VIP preview of Art Wynwood, a contemporary art fair in downtown Miami, last Thursday evening. That’s where she encountered Koons’s small electric blue “Balloon Dog,” perched on a pedestal. Media reports said the woman touched the sculpture with her hands, but the gallery showing the work says she unintentionally kicked the pedestal during the cocktail party.
“The collector never intended to break the sculpture,” a spokesperson for Bel-Air Fine Art told Hyperallergic. “This kind of thing unfortunately happens. That is why the artwork was covered by insurance.”
Cédric Boero, who was at the fair, told the New York Times that the woman, who remains unnamed, later said she was “very, very sorry,” and that she “just wanted to disappear.”
The destroyed sculpture was one of a series of 799, though there are thousands of Koons’s signature “Balloon Dogs” in collections across the world. In fact, owning one of these sculptures, which come in all sizes and colors, has become a required purchase for the run-of-the-mill art collector. The incident garnered wall-to-wall media attention, with a fair amount of gloating on social media. But much like Koons’s work, it doesn’t really matter, and as one witty Twitter user commented, the shards of the perished work are “probably worth a billion now.”