A collector visiting a contemporary art fair accidentally toppled a small glass sculpture by artist Jeff Koons, shattering it to pieces.
The shiny blue sculpture, one of Koons’ famous “balloon dog” series, was valued at US$42,000.
The mishap occurred during a VIP preview at Art Wynwood in Miami, and some collectors thought it was performance art or a staged stunt.
The sculpture sat alone on an acrylic base emblazoned with Koons’ surname.
“I saw this woman was there, and she was tapping [the sculpture], and then the thing fell over and shattered into thousands of pieces,” artist Stephen Gamson said.
Gamson told reporters he thought the woman tapped on the artwork to see if it was a real balloon.
A bystander took a video of gallery employees sweeping up the glass shards.
“I can’t believe somebody would knock that over,” a voice is heard saying on the video.
Benedicte Caluch, an art adviser with Bel-Air Fine Art, which sponsored the Koons piece, told the Miami Herald that the woman did not mean to break the piece.
Insurance would cover the damage, he added.
Koons, who was not present, is a US painter and sculptor who draws inspiration from everyday objects, including balloon animals.
His works challenge notions of what is fine art, even as they have auctioned for as high as US$91 million.
His balloon dog sculptures vary in size, from less than 30cm in height to over 3m tall, and come in vivid colors.
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