Here’s What a $650 Knockoff Koons Balloon Dog Looks Like
Beijing-based company VLA Sculpture is selling stainless steel and resin balloon dog sculptures that look a lot like those of a certain art world star (hint: his name rhymes with “balloons”) now having a retrospective at the Whitney Museum. The works were for sale on China’s largest e-commerce site, Alibaba.com, though the original link does not appear to be active anymore and a search of the VLA Sculpture site turns up no balloon dogs.
Two weeks ago artnet News received a detailed brochure notifying us that the Jeff Koons balloon dog lookalikes, which come in a variety of colors and sizes, are now being offered in resin as well as stainless steel. Some clients had complained that stainless steel versions are too expensive, a VLA rep named Rebecca informed us.
On the morning of August 12, another email arrived asking whether we are still interested in purchasing one of the pups, with an attached photo showing an example of our potential acquisition (see above). “How many pieces do you need and what’s the nearest port?”
This one, presumably the smallest sized example, measuring 19.7 inches high by 19.7 inches long and 7.88 inches wide, is priced at $650 for the stainless steel version and $780 for the resin variety. The larger resin pieces are cheaper than the stainless steel. While we don’t profess to be Koons or canine balloon sculpture experts in general, we immediately noticed that this puppy is not quite as perky as the real thing; note the lack of detailing where the legs meet the body as well as the shape of the tail (especially at the very end), and the fact that the angle of the back legs appears to be quite wide. But hey, can you really complain when you may be able to impress your friends by passing off this faux Koons pooch as the real deal, and save a few million dollars in the process?
Each of the four color options—orange, yellow, red, and blue—in the PDF is illustrated with an image of a Jeff Koons balloon dog sculpture in situ. The picture of Balloon Dog (Blue) is of an edition of the work owned by Eli Broad that was shown at LACMA; the picture of Balloon Dog (Red) is the example of the work owned by Dakis Joannou, photographed while on display at Christie’s last year. Balloon Dog (Orange) is illustrated by an image of the artist’s MCA Chicago retrospective (the same image had been used to illustrate the original Alibaba listing, though the background been stripped out even before the link became inactive).
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