Jeff Koons Porcelain ‘Balloon Dog’ Topples and Shatters in Miami

The porcelain puppy 'just fell out of its display,' says eyewitness.

A Jeff Koons x Bernardaud balloon dog similar to this one was damaged at Design Miami/ over the weekend. Photo courtesy Bernardaud, ©Jeff Koons.

A Jeff Koons miniature balloon dog fell out of its display and shattered on the floor of Bernardaud’s booth at DesignMiami/ yesterday, marking a truly smashing opening day for the global forum for design.

The magenta puppy was made of porcelain, and comes from Koons’s limited-edition series produced in collaboration with Bernardaud, the swanky and historic porcelain manufacturers. They have also created “beautiful, utilitarian objects that make the most of porcelain’s exceptional properties” with artists like Vik Muniz, Marc Chagall, Alexander Calder, and Marina Abramovic.

But there’s no real utility to the miniature balloon dogs—scaled-down versions of the artist’s well-known, monumental, stainless steel sculptures—which are mounted on silver-coated plates.

In 2015, when the original series was selling exclusively through the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, each came with a strict list of handling instructions, including warnings against touching with bare hands, or touching anywhere on the sculpture besides the back and rim.

This humpty-dumpty fiasco proves just how delicate the doggies are, but staffers at the booth seemed to have handled the situation calmly.

“The girl standing next to it had it cleaned up in five seconds,” Ally Shapiro, daughter of Real Housewife of New York Jill Zarin, and witness to the inexplicable collapse, told the Observer. “It just fell out of the display,” she said.

A photo taken by Shapiro shows the plate shattered into pieces, and the dog itself missing its hind legs, which are strewn above its head. Two balloon dogs remained in the booth, one in yellow and one in orange, haunted by the third empty, reflective, hanging display.

While Koons’s record-breaking giant balloon dogs have fetched upwards of $58 million, the miniatures go for $8,000 or $9,000, depending on the color variation. A minor casualty.

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