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Jeff Koons exhibit vandalized at Whitney Museum; Christopher Johnson charged

People look at the art work of Jeff

People look at the art work of Jeff Koons during a media preview of his retrospective at The Whitney Museum of American Art on June 24, 2014 in New York City. Photo Credit: Getty/Andrew Burton

A man was charged with a slew of offenses after allegedly vandalizing a controversial art exhibit at the Whitney Museum early Sunday, police said.

Christopher Johnson, 33, allegedly used black spray paint to tag a blank wall in Jeff Koons "Around the Clock" exhibit while a crowd watched just before 12:30 a.m., police said. The museum was open for 36 hours straight to celebrate the end of Koons' retrospective, according to the Whitney.

Johnson allegedly struggled with several security guards who tried to apprehend him, police said. Several guards were called in to assist.

An Instagram video of the alleged incidento shows a man dressed in brown boots, black jeans and a brown jacket tagging the wall. Johnson was allegedly wearing the same clothing when arrested, police said.

The man in the video, which lasts a few seconds, uses spray paint to write out more than a dozen letters while surrounded by Koons' sculptures, including a large purple heart with a gold bow hanging from above. The man then walks toward the crowd of onlookers.

The wall was repainted overnight, said Amanda Angel, a spokeswoman for the Whitney. None of the art was harmed, she said.

Johnson was charged with several offenses, including third-degree criminal mischief and making graffiti, police said. He was also allegedly found with a black permanent marker in his pants pocket.

Johnson was awaiting arraignment Sunday and could not be reached for comment.

Koons' exhibit was the first to fill nearly the entire Marcel Breuer building of the museum with a single artist's work, and would be the last exhibit there before the museum opens its new Meatpacking District building in 2015, according to the museum's website.

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