A Buster Balloon creation.

Manhattan’s Half Gallery is turning kid stuff into art, tapping master balloon twister Buster Balloon for an unlikely solo show this September. “I think it was Michelangelo who said he never told the stone what to do—it told him,” says Buster, who can often be found performing for children in California’s Orange County, where he’s based. “It’s sort of the same thing with balloons: I pay attention to what the balloon wants.” His intricate creations have included mermaids, playing cards and all manner of fauna, and he recently collaborated with Jeff Koons (whose famed balloon sculptures are made from the more durable stainless steel) on a “top secret” project. On the show’s opening night, Buster will fashion “balloonicatures”—caricatures sculpted from balloons—of gallery patrons for $100 a pop. Art-world heavyweights who have already signed up as models include gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Purple magazine founder Olivier Zahm.

Photo: Richard Faverty/ Beckett Studios