Jeff Koons Faces Legal Action over Non-Delivery of Sculptures

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Jeff Koons Faces Legal Action over Non-Delivery of Sculptures

In a new legal case, a prominent New York collector and patron is going up against two of the New York art worlds best-known names with a 53 page legal complaint.

In a new legal case, a prominent New York collector and patron is going up against two of the New York art worlds best-known names with a 53 page legal complaint.

One of Wall Street’s biggest investors, Steven Tananbaum, has filed a lawsuit against artist Jeff Koons and the New York Gagosian Gallery, claiming that they have failed to deliver three Koons sculptures, despite taking hefty deposits and payments from collectors.

The sculptures in question include Ballon Venus Hohlen Fels (Magenta), a much-discussed art work that is to be rendered in mirror-polished stainless steel. The original purchase order was created in September 2014 and stated an estimated completion date of December 2015. The date for delivery was later moved back to September 2016 and then August 2019. Tananbaum has so far invested $6.4million in acquiring the piece.

Two further sculptures, Eros and Diana, have also been severely delayed in production and Tananbaum claims he did not agree to extended completion dates and is therefore seeking damages for breech of agreements. The complaint states that Tananbaum’s team repeatedly asked for photographs of Diana in production but were never provided with any evidence that production was underway.

Amongst the reasons given for delays in delivery were claims about production problems including problems with computer-aided design elements.

The complaint alleges that behind Jeff Koons reputation “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.”

Steven Tananbaum is a prominent art collector and Chief Investment Officer at GoldenTree Asset Management LP. He has stated that Koons’ team agree a delivery date for sculptures and then request deposits of anywhere from $1million - $2million as well as additional payments, only to delay delivery without agreement.

Koons is one of the world’s best-known contemporary artists and his works have achieved millions of dollars at auction. In 2013 his sculpture Baloon Dog sold for $58 million at auction at Christie’s. 

The full lawsuit can be read here.

Image on top: source.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Image of the Day

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Search

About ArtDependence

ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.

ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.

The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.

If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.