“I Am Not a Vandal” Says Yellowism Founder After Vandalizing Rothko

10.08.12 Marina Galperina

Yesterday, Vladimir Umanets nonchalantly walked up to a 1958 Rothko painting at Tate Modern, took out a marker and tagged it with “Vladimir Umanets ’12, A Potential Piece of Yellowism.” Here’s why…

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…

Umanets is 1/2 of the conceptual blog and Twitter account ThisIsYellowism and @ThisIsYellowism, respectively. Umanets is obviously not trying to hide his identity — in fact, he turned himself in yesterday — which is all quite un-vandal-like. Not only does he believe he hasn’t done anything criminal, he doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong:

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… Some people think I’m crazy or a vandal, but my intention was not to destroy or decrease the value, or to go crazy. I am not a vandal.

All Umanets wanted to do was to spread “Yellowism.”

I’ve been trying to figure it out what this duo is doing ever since they started tweeting “potential piece of Yellowism?” at me. To see them propagating their quirky conceptual meme offline in such a major, bombastic way is somewhat unbelievable, but there it is…

So, what it is? What is “Yellowism”? Upon turning himself in Unaments recited bits of the Yellowist manifesto.

Yellowism is not art, and Yellowish isn’t anti-art. It’s an element of contemporary visual culture. It’s not an artistic movement. It’s not art, it’s not reality, it’s just Yellowism. It can’t be presented in a gallery of art, it can be presented only in a Yellowistic chambers.

Wait for it…

The main difference between Yellowism and art is that in art you have got freedom of interpretation, in Yellowism you don’t have freedom of interpretation, everything is about Yellowism, that’s it. I am a Yellowist. I believe what I am doing and I want people to start talking about this.

Let’s translate… Unaments has vandalized marked this very valuable piece of art, feeling absolutely zero guilt, feeling completely justified legally and artistically. Thus, he appropriated this piece into the movement of Yellowism, reducing its history, meaning and philosophical weight entirely to the concept of Yellowism, which is nothing but itself. Really. All it is is a name, a joyfully Nihilistic chasm that sucks in all appropriated entities and sands off all meaning aside from this glorified hashtag. It “flattens” everything into itself. Holy shit, they just IRL TROLLED everyone.

I don’t need to be famous, I don’t want money, I don’t want fame, I’m not seeking seeking attention. Maybe I would like to point people’s attention on what it’s all about, what is Yellowism, what is art?… It’s good people are shocking about what happened, no-one is realising what actually happened, everyone is just posting that the piece has been damaged or destroyed or defaced… But I believe that after a few years they will start looking for it from the right angle. So that’s why I did it.’

You’re famous now, buddy. (Lead image: Kenny Pittock)