Artist Released From Mental Hospital After Vandalizing Jeff Koons Exhibit With His Own Blood

August 21, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Notorious artist Istvan Kantor strikes again, vandalizing a wall inside the Whitney’s perfect Jeff Koons retrospective with an X of his own blood yesterday. The Hungarian-born Canadian artist first started his “Blood Campaign” in 1979. With the latest action, Kantor passed out Jeff Koons-addressed artist statements for The Gift…

…a surprise addition to your monumental exhibition and a sign of my high esteem of your exceptional work. Hope you’ll like it. You deserve it because you are an eminent artist represented by the world’s most important museums, contrary to me, a convicted heretic art-criminal banned from most museums.

As per protocol, the museum floor was closed for two hours. No actual artwork was damaged in the action, but Kantor was apprehended and taken to a mental institution for evaluation.

When ANIMAL spoke to the artist this morning, he said he’s fine and apparently, not in trouble:

I was taken by the police to a mental hospital to get diagnosed if I am a lunatic. After hours of examination, blood and urine tests, conversations with doctors, etc, I was discharged and I am free now. The museum made this deal with the police because they didn’t want the trouble of going to court and wanted to get rid of me fast by discrediting me as a lunatic.

No charges up until now! I had a great time during the confrontation and investigation by explaining myself and the idea behind the blood x work.

money-arrested(Photo: Antoine S Lutens)
Having done this many times before, he’s also fine in the physical sense:

I have done quite a lot of blood x interventions in museums around the world… It triggers a machinery that responds to my gesture. My arm is fine. I am a pro nurse and paramedic I know how to take blood in tubes. When I tried to explain this to the police that’s when they thought I was a lunatic.

Perhaps the most amusing part of the whole happening is Kantor’s diagnosis:

Yes I got diagnosed, that sounds almost like a good joke: narcissistic personality disorder….

(Photo: Mark Bloch)
Below the bloody X, Kantor wrote “Monty Cantsin was here” with a black marker. This is the artist’s transferable moniker, a Tony Clifton-like part of the “open-pop-star” component of Neoism, a movement Kantor says to have founded.

The Gift contained “6 vials of blood each containing 10ml of my precious liquid-identity.” The artist wrote:

You are a heroic sacrificial celebrity and successful double-agent of today’s hyper-hollywoodian art-mafioso establishment that uses corporate power and greed to financially abuse the arts and exploit artists all around the world…

ThanX Jeff! You have done it Bro! Congratulations.

And yes, it is really his blood. Last year, in an action on Orchard Street, “Monty” opened his vein in a highly practiced manner, spilling rusty metal sculptures. It all ended in “Monty” in the streets, waving a giant red flag engulfed in flames, Lower East Side residents looking on in terror. His latest “Blood Campaign” action took place near a Paul McCarthy sculpture of Michael Jackson at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof in 2004. 

(Lead image: Antoine S Lutens)