Lorna Scott Fox

Jeff Koons didn’t know how right he nearly was when he told a reporter from El País that his monumental flower sculpture Puppy had an ‘untamed’, ‘belligerent’ quality. The next day, Monday 13 October, a florist’s van pulled up outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and two men proceeded to unload a delivery of shrubs as if to stick them onto the giant dog looming over the esplanade. It so happened that Koons, though failing to produce the works for the Jeff Koons Room inside, had kept to schedule with Puppy and no more greenery had been required since Saturday. For this reason a member of the autonomous Basque police, the Ertzaintza, checked the numberplate of the van – and found it to be false. When he asked for identification, he was shot in the back (and died the next day). Three men fled; one was caught later with the help of passers-by, while 12 anti-tank grenades and a remote-control device were found in the pots.

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