Rothko Defacer Believes His Vandalism "Adds Value" to Tate Modern Artwork

By Gary Cutlack on at

A slightly bonkers amateur artist with his own little idea for a movement defaced a ludicrously valuable piece in the Tate Modern, with his marker signature marking the start of what he hopes will become known as the "yellowism" movement. But why did he do it?

The fundamental concept of Vladimir Umanets' yellowism movement isn't in fact the colour yellow, but the sort of non-removable black you get from permanent marker pens, which he used to add the sentence "Vladimir Umanets, a potential piece of yellowism" to the corner of the painting.

The gonzo edit was made to the lower corner of Rothko's 1958 piece Black on Maroon (which itself looks like it was cobbled together in two minutes using marker pen but this is not the time or the place for art criticism), a move the artist/vandal says ought to add value to the work in the future.

Speaking to the Guardian, Umanets said: "I believe that if someone restores the piece and removes my signature the value of the piece would be lower but after a few years the value will go higher because of what I did."

The vandalism was snapped by a visitor to the gallery, who said he heard the sound of a marker pen squeaking away, then noticed the results of Vladimir's efforts dripping down the bottom of the Rothko. The visitor took a photo and stuck it on twitter, as one is legally obliged to do these days when witnessing a thing happening, also informing gallery security. [Twitter via the Guardian]