Koons Sculpture Adorns Lobby at Astor Place

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An East Village office building now has a Jeff Koons sculpture in its lobby.

Balloon Rabbit (Red), 14 feet tall and weighing 6,600 pounds, was installed this week as decoration for the lobby at 51 Astor, a high-rise erected on a site formerly occupied and still owned by the embattled school the Cooper Union. The work is in the collection of Edward J. Minskoff, whose equity company erected the 13-story, 430,000-square-foot building, and will remain indefinitely, according to a representative of Edward J. Minskoff Equities. Rents are reportedly as high as $115 per square foot.

At Christie’s in November, a 12-foot-long, polished stainless steel Jeff Koons sculpture, Balloon Dog (Orange), 1994-2000, set an auction record for a work by a living artist by fetching $58.4 million, just above its $55 million high estimate.

The building and the sculpture bring a new level of glitz to Astor Place, which previously was long known as a gritty hangout for skateboarders. The new building hosts IBM offices and is rumored to be holding out for Twitter as a tenant.