Alexandra Chasin

Post image for Red in Yellow: The Rothko Vandal Makes His Marx

On October 8th, a homeless Russian émigré named Vladimir Umanets defaced a Rothko painting hanging in the Tate Modern in London with his name, the year, and the following fragment: A POTENTIAL PIECE OF YELLOWISM. “Black and Maroon” (1958), originally sporting a signature Rothko black rectangle on a signature Rothko maroon field, is valued at around 50 million pounds. The values of Yellowism are a little harder to get a hold of, though there is a Manifesto online, which outlines the aims of the movement with statements that are either obscure or silly, such as: “Every piece of Yellowism is only about yellow and nothing more. … ” and “Interpreting Yellowism as art or being about something other than just yellow deprives Yellowism of its purpose.”

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