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Jeff Koons Whitney Exhibit Graffiti Vandal Caught on Video (watch!)

A man identified as Christopher Johnson, 33, of Manhattan, spray paints a wall at the Koons exhibit at the Whitney Museum.

A man identified as Christopher Johnson, 33, of Manhattan, spray paints a wall at the Koons exhibit at the Whitney Museum. Koons’ sculpture is to the right. (Photo: ScreenCap)

The Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney Museum in Manhattan was hit by a graffiti vandal last night, who was caught on video spray-painting a wall in front of dozens of startled patrons.

Christopher Johnson, 33, of Manhattan, was arrested at the museum after he was accosted by security guards and turned over to police, according to reports.

Fortunately, the focus of the exhibit, Koons’ “Hanging Heart” sculpture, and other works were not harmed, according to The New York Times.

The incident highlights the fine line museums walk to make valuable artworks accessible to the public, while still safeguarding them from vandals.

In Oct. 2012, A man at the Tate Museum in London was able to walk up to the Rothko’s untitled 1958 painting best known as “Black on Maroon” and mark a slogan on it in black paint. He was gone in a matter of minutes.

Damage can also be caused accidentally.

In 2010, A woman fell into a Picasso and tore a six inch hole in the canvas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, raises the delicate question about how accessible rare works should be in a public museum.

Many times, incidents in museums are politically motivated to protest the art, or artist, or to call attention to a cause. Johnson’s motivation was not immediately known.

The event was a 24-hour tribute to Koons to mark the exhibit’s closing, according to the museum’s Web site. Johnson struck just after midnight.

In the video, posted on Instagram, a slew of startled patrons could be seen pulling out their cell phones and videoing or photographing Johnson as he spray-painted a white wall.

He was charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, possession of a graffiti instrument and criminal nuisance, according to The Times.

The museum remained open for the rest of the event.

The exhibit featured several of Koons’ works, including sculptures, posters and glossy paintings, Everyday household appliances and toys were also part of the exhibit.

Check out the video below, let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest Art news.


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