As pretty much everyone knows by now, a woman accidentally shattered a $42,000 Jeff Koons balloon dog sculpture during an art fair in Miami last Thursday. After the public service act was committed, a Wynwood-based artist and collector named Stephen Gamson has shown interest in acquiring the pieces of the porcelain balloon dog sculpture.
Gamson said he was onsite with a friend for the VIP preview event that day and saw the sculpture on the acrylic pedestal at the Bel-Air Fine Art booth at Art Wynwood before it was broken. In an interview with NPR, Gamson said he was pointing out the sculpture to his friend in real-time when it fell to the floor and shattered loudly after the pedestal had been bumped accidentally. A swarm of guests surrounded the booth and watched as staff members unceremoniously swept up the porcelain pieces into dustpans. Poetic.
Gamson even posted two videos of the incident to Instagram. In one of them, he can be heard saying “If you want to sell the tail …” as the crowd was being asked to back up during the sweep session.
Neither Gamson nor Bel-Air Fine Art has responded to Hyperallergic’s inquiry about the potential purchase of the broken sculpture. Regardless, the whole situation is absurd. I suppose no good deed really goes unpunished, right? Even though Gamson said he likes that the sculpture has a story behind it now and that he could even incorporate the shards in his own work, I really think his money could be better spent elsewhere — so here are some ideas.
A cornea transplant ranges from $13,000 to $28,000 in the US depending on one’s insurance coverage and the surgical facility. Seems like it would be useful in this situation if you ask me.
While the courts have blocked the Biden-Harris student loan forgiveness program, the federal student loan debt average is about $37,574 per person. In his own words, Gamson finds value in broken things. So free someone from the broken system, and have enough money left over for the balloon dog tail shard if Bel-Air Fine Art allows it. Win-win, right?
With $42,000, one could also “adopt” exactly 700 endangered rhinos, according to the World Wildlife Fund, or purchase many thousands of egg cartons for the apocalypse, though that will vary by state.
Gamson can also buy “The Biggest, Baddest, Most Powerful, Most Beautiful School Bus Ever Built” for $26,250 on eBay. That would be a story!
On a more serious note, a donation from Gamson could help save this enormous, hand-carved terra cotta wall mural by WWII veteran and alum Bernard Felch from being destroyed while the University of Delaware does some renovations to its Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building this spring. Felch’s daughter, Lindsey Felch, has created a GoFundMe to help have the mural appropriately dismantled and reinstalled in a new location.
In conclusion, saving a historic mural, paying off someone’s debt, or protecting a fleet of rhinos from extinction are far better conversation starters you can buy for $42,000 or less.