Tate Modern visitor Tim Wright snapped this photo of a Mark Rothko painting that was tagged by the co-founder of a controversial movement. (@WrightTG/Tim Wright/Twitter)
Vladimir Umanets, the man who signed his name in the corner of a 1958 Mark Rothko mural, claims he has done nothing wrong and that his illegal addition adds value to the original work.
Umanets has claimed responsibility for the black inscription in the corner of Black on Maroon, a multimillion dollar work that was on display in London's Tate Modern gallery.
The tag appears to read: "Vladimir Umanets, a potential piece of yellowism" in a photo posted by a gallery visitor who witnessed the act.
Umanets is the co-founder of Yellowism, a controversial movement that explains itself in a circular, defiant manifesto online.
"Yellowism is not art or anti-art ... we believe the context for a work of art is already art," begins the text. "There is no evolution of Yellowism. There is only its expansion."
The U.K.'s Guardian newspaper tracked down a man identifying himself as Umanets by calling a number for an exhibit on yellowism.
"I didn't destroy the picture. I did not steal anything," he said, adding that artists like Marcel Duchamp and Damien Hirst have signed their name to works that they did not create.
"I believe that if someone restores the [Rothko] 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."
He also told the paper that what he did is not criminal, but that he is okay with being arrested.
"I don't consider myself as defacing his painting," he told BBC News in another interview, adding that this is about "yellow context only," calling his movement a phenomenon in contemporary visual culture.
The gallery confirmed the incident in a statement, and the Metropolitan police art squad is investigating.
What do you make of this incident. Do you think yellowism's manifesto has any merit?
It has been said that art is anything you can get away with. Should Umanets get away with this act? If not, what would be a suitable punishment?
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' replies.)
Tags: Arts & Entertainment
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