Jeff Koons recollects how Eli Broad doubled down on the primary ‘Balloon Canine’ sculpture


The yr was 1997 or ’98, Jeff Koons stated. He had the concept for his first “Balloon Canine” sculpture: a Pop piece formed like a child’s birthday celebration favor — besides fabricated from mirror-polished stainless-steel and measuring almost 12 ft lengthy.

The issue: The price of fabricating the canine stored rising, inflating like a balloon — doubling, then doubling once more.

In stepped a savior: artwork collector Eli Broad.

“Eli stood by the piece and paid for the manufacturing, and that’s how the primary ‘Balloon Canine’ got here into being,” Koons stated Friday, the day Broad died in Los Angeles at age 87. “He stood by the work and made certain it might be completed. Now the blue ‘Balloon Canine’ is on the Broad.

“I say all this as a result of he was a very reasonable particular person — achieved in enterprise however truthful. We had been below a sure contract for manufacturing, however when the fee stored getting elevated to get the kind of end we wished for it and on that scale. He stood by the work. And I’m grateful to him for that.”

Koons, certainly one of many art-world figures sharing their remembrances of Broad on Friday, additionally recalled a time he was getting back from Washington, D.C., to New York.

One other Koons sculpture, “Tulips,” within the Broad museum’s top-floor galleries.

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“Eli had his aircraft and requested if I’d wish to trip again with him to town, and I stated I might,” Koons stated. “He actually wished me to sit down in one of many seats up entrance, like an assistant pilot. And he was certain to sit down me in there and put the seat belt on. It was such a unusual second.”

Koons discovered humor in being buckled in by a billionaire. “There was an incredible heat with Eli,” the artist stated. “He may very well be very structured inside his enterprise world, however he actually had a heat and compassion for those who was bar none.”

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