Photos of the vandalism provided to Hyperallergic by @davidjudegreen

Photos of the vandalism provided to Hyperallergic by @davidjudegreen (via davidjudegreen/Twitter)

Last night, a graffiti writer identified by the New York Times as Christopher Johnson, 33, of Manhattan, vandalized a fourth-floor wall of the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art. According to the Times, the NYPD said he was “arrested on charges of criminal mischief, making graffiti, possession of a graffiti instrument, and criminal nuisance … He was taken into custody by police after he struggled with the museum’s security guards.”

Zoë Lescaze of ArtNews, who was at the scene, broke the news. She also reported the strange mood last night at the Whitney:

Beyond the graffiti incident, there was a generally apocalyptic atmosphere to the late-night scene. Two young girls navigated the artist’s hardcore “Made in Heaven” series with unsettling nonchalance. Someone opened an emergency exit on the second floor and the shrill beeps joined drunken voices echoing through the stairwell. A woman wearing a wedding dress drifted past “Hulk (Organ)” (2004–14) like it was a roadside attraction in the desert on the way to her Vegas chapel. Only a very skeletal crew of museum staff appeared to be on hand. It almost felt as though the building was going to be torn down after this one last blowout.

This is the second major act of vandalism at the blockbuster show. Back on August 20, Istvan Kantor also illegally painted on the wall of the retrospective using ink and blood.

A video of his action, which doesn’t appear to have damaged any of the art, was posted 13 hours ago on Instagram by J. Miller (aka @so_outlandish) with the words “witnessed the tag”:


witnessed the tag #Whitney #JeffKoons

View on Instagram

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic.

11 replies on “Another Vandal Hits Jeff Koons Retrospective”

  1. What the WHAT?! I can’t believe all the people on their phones, with no one seemingly wanting to help! So bizarre.

    1. The people recording the event are helping. Really they are helping
      everyone… The vandal, Koons, the police… All of these people are
      aided by the video.

      1. this is koons marketing scheme to get more press and to get more people to attend the show and it undoubtedly worked.. theres a bigger picture this isnt a news article its a publicity stunt

  2. maybe
    just maybe jeff koons wasnt getting the press he used to..maybe just
    maybe this is jeff koons way of getting press. maybe just maybe.

  3. Monty Cantsin Amen is not a vandal, he is much better artist than Jeff Koons, and much better vandal than that other guy, who is obviously mental case seeking attention.

    1. (via Monty Cantsin Amen) “Dear Alexander Sasha, thanks for defending me against vandalism but I have to tell you that I prefer to be called a vandal in opposing to artist. To be a vandal is a honest position while being an artist today is just a marketing tool. I’m not against making money but definitely against the greed and stupidity that characterize today’s art system. The term artist is overused and abused and basically lost all of its creative values. In times when the supreme measure of art is money and only those who sell their works for millions get respect and acknowledgment, to be called a vandal is a riposte to the corporate ruled art-authorities and an important sign of resistance. Duchamp has vandalized the notion of art as well and that’s what made him become a great artist. But he was not a money-grubbing mercenary. Koons is trying to do the same thing except that he is a marketing puppet for the art maffia leadership that makes a huge megaprofit on whatever shit he creates in the name of art. He is serving the world wide shinyist gentrification of broadcast imperialism that took over the world decades ago led by the mindblinding forces of the Rentagon. Jeff Koons’s art embellishes the Rentagon. I’m glad that Christopher Johnson tagged the walls and I value his gesture much higher than any of the puppet government art works in those rooms.”

      1. Jeff Koons worked on Wall Street. What he does is part of the whole, sordid system of monetization. Koons is in the commodifiction of art business. He seems to be a very amiable pimp.

Comments are closed.