THE GUARDIAN, BBC NEWS (UK)
LONDON – Vladimir Umanets, a Russian artist who claims to have defaced a Mark Rothko mural in the Tate Modern gallery says he has engaged in a work of art and added value to the multimillion-dollar abstract painting.
According to eyewitnesses, Umanets was sitting quietly before the 1958 canvas Black on Maroon, then walked up and inscribed the words "Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism" in black in the corner of the painting before quickly leaving room.
Umanets, co-creator of the Yellowism movement –which, according to an online manifesto, is "not art or anti-art" -- said he had done so in order to draw attention to what was going on in contemporary art, BBC News reveals.
London’s Tate Modern issued a brief statement : "Tate can confirm that at 15.25 this afternoon there was an incident at Tate Modern in which a visitor defaced one of Rothko's Seagram murals by applying a small area of black paint with a brush to the painting. The police are currently investigating the incident."
There is an enthusiastic elderly Spanish woman who says she can restore the Rothko @bbcr4today— Martin Robinson (@SurrealAnarchy) October 8, 2012
Umanets told The Guardian "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," he said, comparing himself to Marcel Duchamp, the French artist who signed a urinal and called it art in 1917.
"I don't believe that what I have done is criminal. If the police are going to arrest me, then they are going to arrest me. I am OK with that," he went on, adding that he admired the Russian-American abstract painter’s work.
The Seagram murals were painted by Rothko in 1958 for Manhattan's Four Seasons restaurant, but were never installed.
Why would you deface a Rothko when there are so many perfectly defaceable Jeff Koons pieces.— Urb Your Enthusiasm (@heyitsurban) October 7, 2012