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Jeff Koons’ ‘Balloon Dog (Blue)’ shattered. Art collectors are fighting for the shards

The shattered pieces of a blue porcelain statue lie on the concrete floor at an art fair
The shattered pieces of Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog (Blue)” lie on the concrete floor at a Miami art fair.
(Stephen Gamson / Instagram @GamsonArt / GamsonArt.com)
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and art collectors have their eyes on the shattered pieces of a Jeff Koons sculpture.

“Balloon Dog (Blue),” a $42,000 porcelain sculpture from the neo-Pop artist, was shattered the night of Feb. 16 at Miami’s contemporary art fair Art Wynwood.

Koons’ attention-grabbing pieces have become icons of America’s contemporary art scene. The ’ balloon dog sculpture was one of the big draws of the fair, but it was the disaster of its demise that became the main event.

“When this thing fell to the ground, it was like how a car accident draws a huge crowd on the highway,” artist and collector Stephen Gamson told the Miami Herald. “It was really the star of this booth.”

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A woman and two men stand around a blue sculpture of a balloon dog
Shinuna Karume, left, French Consul General Jeremie Robert and artist Jeff Koons with “Balloon Dog (Blue).”
(Jared Siskin / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Now Gamson is among the collectors who are hoping to purchase the broken bits of “Balloon Dog (Blue).”

“Some collectors offered to buy the shards and we are still receiving offers as we speak,” Bel-Air Fine Art‘s district manager Cédric Boero told the Washington Post on Tuesday.

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“I find value in it even when it’s broken,” Gamson told the Miami Herald. “To me, it’s the story. It makes the art even more interesting.”

The sculpture-to-shards fiasco went down Thursday night inside the Bel-Air Fine Art booth when a woman unwittingly bumped the clear stand that displayed the metallic blue sculpture. The balloon dog reportedly went flying. It loudly shattered into more than 100 pieces, quickly drawing the attention of fair-going aesthetes who gathered around with mouths agape and cellphones poised.

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“You gotta do it very subtly,” a man says in a video recorded by Gamson. “Take this piece here.”

“See now, that is the new art installation there … because everything’s art, isn’t it?” a woman says as she gestures toward the broken pieces.

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Koons, whose $91-million “Rabbit” sculpture set the record for most expensive work sold at an auction by a living artist, introduced the balloon dogs as part of his 1994 “Celebration” series. In 2013, Koons’ steel sculpture “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold for $58.4 million. “Balloon Dog (Blue)” was listed for a relatively modest price of around $42,000.

This isn’t the first of Koons’ sculptures to meet a fractured fate. in 2016, another balloon dog shattered in Miami. In a statement to Page Six, the artist seemed nonchalant about the incident.

“We’re really lucky when it’s just objects that get broken, when there’s little accidents like that,” Koons said, “because that can be replaced.”

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