Monday, October 08, 2012

Marking a Rothko

Hey so this smorning I read a tweet by Tim Wright saying that he just saw a Mark Rothko painting in Londons Tate Modern being defaced. Apparently the guy "calmly walked up, took out a marker and tagged it". The tweet had this image attached.
I don't know who Tim Wright is, but I was bombarded with his tweet as everyone kept retweeting it. In fact
at the time I'm writing this 444 people have retweeted it. 

The tweet seemed to be confirmed when the Tate Modern evacuated the public from their premises and closed the gallery. The tweet was soon officially confirmed by the BBC, and then later by the Tate Modern itself.

Immediately following Wrights tweet lots of media sources openly replied to Wright asking him for an interview, and then immediately after that Wright interviews were being retweeted., the first place I saw to request an interview and the first place I saw to have published one, "enhanced" Wrights original photo so that you could now read the text.
Someone named Greg Allen of claimed to have found that the vandel is some guy named Vladimir Umanets. Umanets apparently represents a movement known as "Yellowism".

Here is the Yellowism manifesto, sourced from

With this in mind, the tag enscribed on the supposedly 50 million pound 1958 Rothko painting; "Black on maroon", could now be understood to read as; 
About an hour ago Ben Quin of the Guardian claims to have spoken to "a guy who claims to have "improved" the Rothko at the Tate Modern today... He says he was following in the footsteps of Duchamp and that the Rothko will be worth a lot more as a result in the future".

Quin went on to write a Guardian article that read;
“I was expecting that the security at Tate Modern would take me straight away, because I was there and I signed the picture in front of a lot of people. There is video and cameras and everything, so I was shocked.”

“I didn’t destroy the picture. I did not steal anything. There was a lot of stuff like this before. Marcel Duchamp signed things that were not made by him, or even Damien Hirst.”

He said that he admired Rothko, describing him as one of the great figures in art of the last century, but added: “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.”

After this someone named Holy Knowlman tweeted that Vladimir Umanets is an anagram for "I'm true vandalism".

So far as I can tell no-one is yet to be charged for the crime. 

After reviewing surveliance footage the suspect is known to be a white male in mid twenties, which although matches Umanets' profile, also matches mine.

It's ok though, I have a solid aliby. There's no way it could've been me who defaced the Tate's Rothko, for you see at the time I was busy tagging the one at the National Gallery of Victoria.
While I'm being a reporter and giving you hot off the press inside scoops, I should tell you something else I found out today.

Apparently the NGV's Rothko painting, (pictured above), "Untitled (Red)" from 1958, was actually hung
upside down for five years. It wasn't until the conservation team X-rayed it that they realized that the signature was the wrong way up.
You heard it here first. Well, that's all for now. Thanks for tuning in to your six o'clock art news update. I'm Kenny Pittock. See you tomorrow.


  1. I can't believe someone would do that to a Rothko, I dont even like Rothko but I wouldn't do that. Super great blog Post, you are hilarious! Keep it up! - Jamie

    1. Hey Jamie, yeah there's no way I could ever do that to a Rothko either, I was just finding out for myself how easy it would be. Thanks heaps for the nice words pal.

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    1. Hey, thanks a lot for the comment, glad to be appreciated. Happy to hear you'll be coming back to this blog about once per week, I'll be sure to update it at least that often.

  3. Just write: THIS WAY UP with arrow --->