Mo Monet mo problems

Alibaba can get you a 99.999% discount on Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Dog”

July 25, 2014
July 25, 2014
Tap image to zoom
The original “Balloon Dog” with artist Jeff Koons.AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

“Balloon Dog,” a stainless steel sculpture by Jeff Koons, was the most expensive work of art by a living artist ever auctioned off when it sold for $58.4 million last year. But you can get it—or actually a replica of it—for just $500 from Alibaba, the Chinese online retailing giant that will go public in the US this autumn:

Tap image to zoom

The dog is available on Alibaba.com, which is for wholesale customers, as opposed to shopping mall Taobao, which is for retail purchases. The supplier says it can produce 10 units a month.

Alibaba’s wholesale shopping site has plenty of other fakes of famous art available, including a seller that promises it can deliver 100 De Koonings, Franzs, Picassos, or Pollocks a year:

Tap image to zoom

And another that can make this “Claude Monet oil painting” for as little as five euros ($6.73):

Tap image to zoom

A full suite of hand-painted reproductions of famous impressionist paintings are also available on Alibaba’s Chinese language site, through individual online stores:

Tap image to zoom

Koons isn’t the only well-known living artists that Alibaba users have decided is worth peddling. Several manufacturers are offering Damien Hirst’s skateboard deck set, which reportedly sold at auction for $7,000 a set, for as little as $1,000 a set:

Tap image to zoom

Those sets are not fakes, one seller promises, pledging “100% Authentic, bid with confidence! I have never sold fake merchandise and never will.”

Ahead of its IPO, which could value the company at as much as $200 billion, Alibaba has been fighting fake merchandise. A $6 hand-painted “Monet” is so patently unreal, and so unlikely to be confused with the real thing, that cracking down it seems somewhat silly. The fake “Balloon Dog,” though, may be a different story—Koons has sued manufacturers for making bookends that look like his sculpture. An outright copy of the sculpture is sure to attract his attention.

Cathy Sizhao Yi contributed reporting.

Top News

Powered by WordPress.com VIP
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 21,140 other followers