Let’s make one thing crystal clear
We don’t want no ism here
– Dog Eat Dog “ISMS”
Years of jail time seems a heavy price for a publicity stunt. On the other hand it appears the act of vandalism in question carried a price tag of £200,000. You have to have an impressive ego to think you’re going to ‘improve’ on a Rothko and surely must be unaware of Dadaism if you think “Yellowism” sounds new and exciting? The Guardian reports:
A man who vandalised one of Tate Modern’s most cherished Mark Rothko paintings has been jailed for two years for actions the judge described as “entirely deliberate, planned and intentional”.
Wlodzimierz Umaniec, also known as Vladimir Umanets, a 26-year-old Polish national who lives in Worthing, West Sussex, pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to criminal damage in excess of £5,000. In this case it was well in excess, with estimates suggesting it will cost more than £200,000 and 20 months to restore.
Judge Roger Chapple, at Inner London crown court, said it was “abundantly clear” that Umaniec was “plainly an intelligent man” who regarded Rothko as a “great painter”.
The incident happened at around 3.25pm on 7 October this year, when Umaniec approached one of Rothko’s Seagram murals, Black on Maroon, took out a brush and some black paint and wrote his name along with ‘A Potential Piece of Yellowism’ in the corner of the work.
He later claimed it was an artistic act, comparing himself to Marcel Duchamp, whose appropriation of a urinal in 1917 led to him being regarded as the father of conceptual art. Umaniec had told the BBC: “Art allows us to take what someone’s done and put a new message on it.”
But Chapple, on the subject of “yellowism”, said it was “wholly and utterly unacceptable to promote it by damaging a work of art”.
If you’re interested their website is here: Yellowism.
And they tweet here: https://twitter.com/ThisIsYellowism
At the moment their twitter account seems mainly to be getting abusive messages.