Gagosian Sued Over Jeff Koons Balloon Venus Production Delay




The film producer Joel Silver is suing the Gagosian gallery over the failure to deliver a balloon Venus sculpture. Mr Silver agreed to purchase the Koons work for $8 million in 2014 with an estimated delivery date set for June 2017. A contract was drawn up specifying that this was only an estimated completion date and in January 2017 the date was moved to July 2019, citing “difficulties in completing a ‘digital model.’

“Progress is being made on the pieces at issue in these litigations, and as always they will be delivered upon completion” – Gagosian Gallery

Silver then requested a refund, something that Gagosian turned down. The international gallery told Mr Silver’s lawyer that he would have to forfeit a $3.2 million down payment unless he continued making payments on time as agreed in the original contract. Silver was then presented with an amended agreement supporting the later delivery date in December 2020. This agreed to three further payments of $1.6 million. Silver withheld further payments which resulted in a threat from Gagosian to terminate the contract forfeiting a $3.2 million payment by the producer of Die Hard, The Matrix, and Lethal Weapon.

Silver offered to put $2.4 million in an escrow account, with the remaining funds to be released on delivery of the sculpture, but this was rejected by Gagosian who demanded the $1.6m increment as agreed in the contract.

A spokesperson for the Gagosian gallery stated, “Because of the unusual process used to create his pieces, and his impeccable standards for completion, [Koons’s] contracts for sale specifically state that the delivery dates are only estimates. For more than 30 years Jeff Koons has been creating works of art and to our knowledge, without exception, has never failed to deliver these works and always to the enormous satisfaction of the collector. Progress is being made on the pieces at issue in these litigations, and as always they will be delivered upon completion.”

“Koons has become a world-renowned artist because he approaches each piece with utmost integrity and attention to detail,” says a spokeswoman for Gagosian Gallery in a statement. “He produces large, complex pieces of art that require master craftsmanship and take time to execute. Because of the unusual process used to create his pieces and his impeccable standards for completion, his contracts for sale specifically state that the delivery dates are only estimates. For more than 30 years Jeff Koons has been creating works of art and to our knowledge, without exception, has never failed to deliver these works and always to the enormous satisfaction of the collector. Progress is being made on the pieces at issue in these litigations, and as always they will be delivered upon completion.”

This is not the first lawsuit to be slapped on Gagosian by a disgruntled collector. Steven Tananbaum, a hedge fund mogul, is also suing the gallery as well as Jeff Koons Studio, LLC for the “non-delivery” of three Koons sculptures for which he has already paid in the region of $13 million, with no sign of the works of art.

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