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Ukrainians Express Outrage Over U.S. Sculptor's Seated Ballerina

Ukrainians have taken to the Internet to criticize U.S. artist Jeff Koons over his sculpture of a sitting ballerina recently installed in New York, saying it appears remarkably similar to a work by a Ukrainian artist.

Koons has said his 14-meter, inflatable Seated Ballerina, now on view at Rockefeller Center, was inspired by a Russian porcelain figurine from the 19th century.

But many Ukrainians are calling it a ripoff of The Ballerina Lenochka, a porcelain statuette by Ukrainian artist Oksana Zhnikrup, who died in 1993.

A spokeswoman for Koons, Lauran Rothstein, told AFP in an e-mail, "We are aware of Oksana Zhnikrup's work and have a license to use it for Mr. Koons's work."

But Ukrainians and other critics continued to vent against the neo-pop artist on Twitter and Facebook.

"I advise the Ukrainian government to file a case," Ukrainian artist Oleksandr Roitburd said. "America will be surprised to see that we don't have just corruption and war, but also art."

Koons has been accused of plagiarism before. In March he was ordered to pay a fine over his Naked sculpture, which was deemed a "counterfeit" of a French photograph.

With reporting by AFP
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