by now, most of us have seen the video of my dear friend and artist, Christopher Johnson tagging the highly publicized Jeff Koons Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art. the incident took place a few nights ago in front of a stunned crowd of Koons’ following. but, can we simply write this off as an act of vandalism as the ny times has dubbed it? or is it an act of sheer performance art genius? it certainly has people talking.
i spoke with a number of people and got somewhat mixed sentiments, however, the overarching notion was that Johnson’s ambush was nothing short of brilliance. personally, i agree with the PPP crew, a group of artists who took me under their wing when i first came to the city. but, back then it was before graffiti began its dissent into a trendy bleep on the art world’s radar. with notable members such as The Mirf and Cat Marnell, Fat Jew and Johnson himself and a cult following (due in part to the notoriety of the crew and the social media take over of recent years), it has become larger than life.
is street art the new impressionism? i ask that question with a hint of irony. graffiti or more politely, “street art,” has been around since cave dwellers first figured out how to make dye out of rocks and minerals in order to depict their surroundings. in a sense, it is the most primitive, inherent form of self expression that has spanned millennia; and, in a way these artists are still making a statement about their surroundings.
but what exactly is that statement? are we over thinking an act of vandalism, or are we witnessing a revolutionary new movement in art? in my opinion, what Johnson did was phenomenal. as the art world attempts to appropriate “street art,” what better way to say fuck you to their snobbery than tagging the shit out of a Jeff Koons Retrospective at the Whitney?
with a faux banksy arrested in london, and Johnson here in new york, i can’t help but think that these men are art martyrs willing to go to great lengths to get their message across. viva la revolution!
see video here: www.instagram.com