Jeff Koons Retrospective Vandalized

On August 20, Canadian performance artist Istvan Kantor smeared a white wall on the third floor of the Whitney Museum’s Jeff Koons retrospective with his own blood, and signed the impromptu mural with the name “Monty Cantsin,” and Hyperallergic reported. He was photographed by a passerby, ecstatically raising his arms and holding a piece of paper.

Kantor was removed from the scene by security and sent to a mental institution for evaluation. The exhibition was closed off, but quickly reopened. No artwork is reported to have been damaged. The Whitney released a statement to Hyperallergic in response to the incident:

An isolated act of vandalism occurred this afternoon at the Whitney Museum of American Art involving a blank gallery wall on the third floor of the Jeff Koons exhibition. No artwork was affected or damaged in any way. Guards quickly apprehended the individual responsible. The police were called and they removed the individual from the museum. Following standard security protocol, the third floor of the museum was closed briefly and reopened within two hours of the incident.


Istvan Kantor speaking with Whitney Museum security guards.
Photo: Antoine S Lutens, via Facebook.

The Hungarian-born Canadian artist Kantor is one of the founders of the Neoist art movement, which began in Montreal in 1979, and whose acolytes regularly adopt the moniker Monty Cantsin to carry out performances and exhibitions.

Kantor’s Koons attack is the latest in a series of radical performances begun in the 1970s, in which the artist throws his own blood on artworks, exhibitions, or members of the public. The most infamous recent entry in the series came in 2004, when Kantor threw a vial of his blood at the wall near a Paul McCarthy sculpture of Michael Jackson at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof.

Not everyone has responded to Kantor’s bloody performances so negatively. In 2004 Canada gave him a Governor General’s Award in the visual and media arts category.

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