Collector Sues Gagosian Gallery, Jeff Koons Studio for ‘Non-Delivery’ of Three Sculptures

In a case that is bound to rock the art world, a prominent New York collector and art patron has sued two giants of the art market in New York Supreme Court this morning, charging the Gagosian Gallery, Inc. and Jeff Koons, LLC for the “non-delivery” of three multimillion-dollar Jeff Koons sculptures for which the collector has paid more than $13 million.

In the 53-page complaint that includes lines that reference Shakespeare (“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”) and that are almost Dickensian, New York litigator Aaron Richard Golub charges, “Behind the ostensible façade of Jeff Koons’ art world triumphs and record-breaking auction prices . . . lurks a well-oiled machine, more specifically an established, archaic System as old as the hills applied to the art world to exploit art collectors’ desire to own Jeff Koons sculptures. The archaic system, once all of the obfuscations are stripped away, exposes a garden-variety, interest-free, fraudulent financial routine that harkens the name Ponzi. New money is used to pay old obligations, not to mention that the archaic System is one that oversold the artist’s capacity. Ponzi meets The Producers.”

In the 53-page complaint that includes lines that reference Shakespeare (“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”) and that are almost Dickensian, New York litigator Aaron Richard Golub charges, “Behind the ostensible façade of Jeff Koons’ art world triumphs and record-breaking auction prices . . . lurks a well-oiled machine, more specifically an established, archaic System as old as the hills applied to the art world to exploit art collectors’ desire to own Jeff Koons sculptures. The archaic system, once all of the obfuscations are stripped away, exposes a garden-variety, interest-free, fraudulent financial routine that harkens the name Ponzi. New money is used to pay old obligations, not to mention that the archaic System is one that oversold the artist’s capacity. Ponzi meets The Producers.”

Apart from the dramatic language, the complaint lays out the unfulfilled, five-year quest of Museum of Modern Art trustee and longtime ARTnews Top 200 collector Steven Tananbaum to take possession of three unrealized sculptures by Koons, including Balloon Venus Hohlen Fels (Magenta), 2013–15, which was to be fabricated in mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating and scaled at 103 by 65 inches.

The original purchase agreement for the sculpture, dated September 11, 2014, stated “an estimated completion date of December 2015.”

Tananbaum made two payments for the sculpture in 2014 of $1.6 million each.

Source:

http://www.thegroundmag.com/jeff-koons-neo-pop-art/jeff-koons-balloon-dog/