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Jeff Koons, Bless His Heart

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You loved it at the Palazzo Grassi. You swooned for its chromium steel balloon doggie sibling. Now see Jeff Koons‘ nine-foot-tall “Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold)” (1994-2006) sculpture in person. All 3,500 pounds of love are now suspended over a patch of floor at Sotheby’s in New York City, the first time it has been exhibited in the United States. The beribboned heart, owned by Adam Lindeman (but you didn’t hear that from us), is one of five such sculptures, each of them uniquely colored and part of Koons’ “Celebration” series inspired by celebratory moments, such as when you win an auction for a sculpture that weighs more than a Honda Civic (but before you have to think about how to get it home).

“It looks like it came from outer space,” says Tobias Meyer, worldwide head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s. “It has an absolute surreality about it, because you almost think that it can’t exist because it’s so perfect.” Sotheby’s Executive VP Lisa Dennison finds the sculpture more earthly in its delights. “I always thought of it as this very innocent, universal symbol, and when you see it, it is extremely sexual,” she says, citing “that tension between where the sculpture stops and the floor, that voluptuousness and the swelling curves of the upper lobes, and in particular that hole where the ribbon connects to the heart.”

The one-and-a-half ton sex symbol goes on the block November 14th, and with a low estimate of $15 million, bidding won’t be for the faint of heart.

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