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

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

The issue: The price of fabricating the canine saved 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 individual — completed in enterprise however truthful. We have been beneath a sure contract for manufacturing, however when the price saved getting elevated to get the kind of end we needed for it and on that scale. He stood by the work. And I’m grateful to him for that.”

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

Another Koons sculpture, "Tulips," in the Broad museum's top-floor galleries.

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

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“Eli had his airplane and requested if I’d wish to experience again with him to town, and I stated I’d,” Koons stated. “He actually needed me to take a seat in one of many seats up entrance, like an assistant pilot. And he was certain to take a seat 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 amazing heat with Eli,” the artist stated. “He might be very structured inside his enterprise world, however he actually had a heat and compassion for those that was bar none.”

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