A crucial piece of an original Salvador Dalí art sculpture currently on display in downtown Vancouver was stolen over the weekend.
The golden egg from the 12-foot-tall, $2.8 million artwork known as Space Venus (located at the intersection of West Hastings and Hornby Street) was reported missing on Sunday morning (June 22) by Susanna Strem, owner of the Chali-Rosso Art Gallery.
According to its gallery director, Oree Gianacopoulos, Strem walks past the popular sculpture twice daily, but was shocked to see it missing from its lower torso yesterday around 11:30 a.m.
“It [the egg] is critical to the entire meaning of the sculpture. There’s absolutely nothing of value to it by itself other than it’s a big, shiny, bronze thing,” Gianacopoulos told the Straight in a phone interview.
This particular Dalí piece was unveiled in mid-May, and is the fifth large-scale sculpture that the privately owned gallery has brought to the city.
“We paid to bring it here, it’s our responsibility and we’re just looking into how we can fix this,” added Gianacopoulos. “We’re still very optimistic that somebody will do the right thing and bring it back.”
The Space Venus is on loan from a Salvador Dalí Society Foundation, and was scheduled to be on display through September. There were ongoing talks for an extension, but the gallery is unclear what will happen if the golden egg isn’t returned, or whether there’s even a point to continue displaying the sculpture on its own.
“So many people are enjoying it, coming by and phoning us to tell us how much they loved it,” said Gianacopoulos. “We were hoping if it wasn’t destined to be someplace else, that we could keep it for a little longer.”
Contrary to public perception, the public display of this sculpture is not funded through the City of Vancouver, but through the Chali-Rossi Art Gallery.
“We did this because we wanted to bring, as we have in the past few years, some world-class art to the people of Vancouver for free,” said the gallery director.
A second Dalí piece, Dalinian Dancer, is also on display in downtown Vancouver at the corner of Thurlow and Alberni Streets. Users who download an app can watch the sculpture come to life on smartphone screens—the art sculpture actually starts dancing.
“We’re still very optimistic that someone will realize it was a stupid, stupid thing to do, and just give it back. Just leave it in front of the gallery or leave it with the police station,” said Gianacopoulos. “We’re going to stay totally positive, and you just have to have faith that people will do the right thing. Really, we don’t know what else to do.”
The gallery believes that surrounding businesses may have security camera footage on the crime, and urges anyone with information regarding the vandalism to immediately contact the Vancouver Police Department or the Chali-Rosso Art Gallery at 604-733-3594.