Instagram Thrill-Seeker Vandalizes Koons Retrospective

A vandal targeted Jeff Koon's Whitney retrospective Photo: davidjudegreen/Twitter via hyperallergic

The Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York was targeted by a vandal shortly after midnight yesterday, reports ARTnews. The museum remained open overnight for 36 hours to mark the closing of both the exhibition and its Upper East Side Marcel Breuer-designed home ahead of its relocation to the Meatpacking District (see “36 Straight Hours of Koons Will Mark Whitney Closing” and “New Whitney Building, Like Noah’s Ark, Could Ferry All of American Art to Safety“).

The vandal sprayed unintelligible letters across a wall on the fourth floor near Koon’s Hanging Heart (Violet/Gold) (1994–2006). According to the New York Timesa man identified as Christopher Johnson, 33, of Manhattan, was apprehended by museum guards and taken into custody by the police, who charged him with criminal mischief, making graffiti, possession of a spray instrument, and criminal nuisance.

An online video posted by an onlooker on the image sharing site Instagram shows the perpetrator hurriedly spraying several letters in black spray-paint on the wall in front of other visitors. Following the crime he pockets the spray can and walks away.

Adrian Hardwicke, director of visitor experience at the Whitney, confirmed that no artwork had been damaged. Museum staff quickly repainted the wall, covering the graffiti, and the museum remained open for the remainder of the event.

It is not the first time that “Jeff Koons: A Retrospective” has been vandalized. In August, the exhibition was targeted by Canadian performance artist Istvan Kantor, who painted a red ‘X’ on one of the museum walls in his own blood (see “Jeff Koons Retrospective Vandalized“).

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