In November 2013, Jeff Koons broke the record for the highest-selling work by a living artist when his Balloon Dog (Orange) went for US$58.4 million at auction. Last year he did it again with Rabbit at $91.1 million. His sculptures have been notorious ‘tycoon trophies’ since the ‘90s, and his balloon dogs are studded throughout personal and public collections around the world.
But the last ‘Koons’ you saw probably wasn’t one.
If the shiny dog was squatting down to leave a little (balloon) parcel behind it, you were looking at POPek, baby of Polish-born London-based artist Sebastian Burdon—AKA, Whatshisname. Burdon’s creations aim to poke fun at everything from Koons to the gallery bubble to culture in general, to disconcert and delight the viewer. He calls it ‘joyful pop art’.
Burdon renders POPek in several poses, each released in limited editions of varying sizes, materials and colours. His growing family of Balloon Dogs, which he’s christened POPIKI, now includes PEEPek (complete with polyresin puddle) and HUMPek (two dogs, well, humping). And he’s not just after the art world: last year’s ‘Brexit Balloon Dogs’ got busy on a plinth asking ‘Who humps whom?’
Collectors can buy Burdon’s work as both prints and fibreglass sculptures, and for a lot less than US$58.4 million.
A heartfelt thank you to all the photographers, artists, illustrators, and writers who trusted us, dived in, and brought us delight, grace, excitement, courage, wilderness, and wonder over the last five years. Their work not only reflects the bonds we share with our animal companions, it also celebrates their spirit.
None of this would be possible without our four-legged counterparts who sprinkle magic dust time and time again, and our readers, who embraced this kooky idea, rallied around us, and made this world theirs too. With friends like these, who needs nine lives?
February 5, 2019