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Vandal at the Whitney
New York City police arrested a 33 year old man from Manhattan early Sunday morning
immediately following his act of vandal at the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum of
American Art. Perpetrator Christopher Johnson was caught red-handed, with spray paint in his
pocket and bystander video footage of him committing the act. Johnson waited until midnight to
strike, taking advantage of a moment when a curator was preoccupied with a question answer
session. Though Johnson violated the exhibit, he didn’t damage any of the art, only spraying a few
letters on a blank wall.
About Jeff Koons
Jeff Koons’ works gained prominence in the 1980’s after setting up shop in a former SoHo
warehouse with a team of 30 assistants. Today Koons works with a team of roughly 120 assistants,
implementing a color by number system to communicate his vision with his staff. His work is widely
reputed for reimagining the banal as the whimsical, often focusing on everyday objects such as
balloon animals, celebrities, and flowers.
Among Koon’s most famous work is a set of three life sized statues made of gilded porcelain of
Michael Jackson and his pet Chimpanzee called Michael Jackson and Bubbles, and his massive
stainless steel sculptures of balloon animals. Chiefly recognized as a sculptor, his work is often large,
and is acclaimed for its prolific use of color and diverse materials.
It’s speculated that this was not a random act of vandal, but rather, an expression of derogation
against artist Jeff Koons. Incidentally, this event marks the second attack on a Jeff Koons exhibit.
Detractors of Koons’ work berate it as mere kitsch, motivated by profit and ego instead of passion.
As it is, Jeff Koons is immensely successful, routinely collecting millions of dollars from a single
show or piece of art.