A man was arrested for vandalism at the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum. Koons with a balloon sculpture. Reuters

New York police Sunday charged a Manhattan man with spray-painting graffiti on a blank wall at the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Christopher Johnson, 33, was arrested early Sunday and charged with making graffiti, possession of a graffiti instrument and criminal nuisance, the New York Times reported.

Witnesses alleged Johnson sprayed letters onto the blank wall next to Koons’ “Hanging Heart” sculpture just after midnight during the museum’s 36-hour event at the end of the Koons retrospective. An Instagram video shows a man spray-painting the wall and putting the spray can back into his jacket right before walking away.

Adrian Hardwicke, the Whitney’s director of visitor experience, said no artwork was damaged, and the museum would remain open for the rest of the event. In August, a man vandalized a blank gallery wall near Koons’ “Rabbit” sculpture in the same exhibit. No art was damaged in that incident.

The Koons exhibit at the Whitney was the first museum retrospective of the artist's work. Despite of his popularity and controversial status in the art world, some classify his work is mere kitsch. His most famous works include huge balloon animals made with stainless steel and a porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson with his pet chimp, Bubbles.


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