San Francisco art gallery and store Park Life recently received a cease and desist letter from none other than Chelsea-based superstar artist Jeff Koons over their resin balloon animal bookends, which said letter deems brazen rip-offs of the multi-millionaire's muti-million-dollar stainless steel balloon animal sculptures (can you tell which is which in the image above? didn't think so).
The Bay Citizen's Reyhan Harmanci writes that just before the holidays the gallery received a letter from Koons's lawyers asking that the balloon dog bookends be pulled from shelves (and e-shelves), that the gallery provide information about the number that had already been sold and the company that manufactures them (Toronto's imm Living). Jamie Alexander, co-owner of Park Life, did so, but is reasonably outraged by Koons's claim of ownership of balloon dogs. She tells the BC: "This man can't own something that existed before him." Local copyright lawyer Simon Frankel is with her:
"The idea that Jeff Koons would have an exclusive right to make objects in the shape of a balloon dog simply because he made one is surprising and inconsistent … with copyright law," said Frankel, noting that by that logic, Koons could also pursue legal action against balloon artists everywhere.