09/10/2012 09:09 BST | Updated 09/10/2012 09:13 BST

Vladimir Umanets Arrested Over Defaced Mark Rothko Painting

A man who claimed responsibility for defacing a Mark Rothko painting a the Tate Modern has been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

Vladimir Umanets, 26, was arrested in Worthing on Monday night before being transferred to the capital for questioning.

His arrest came hours after he explained to the media why he wrote on the bottom right-hand corner of the painting "Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism."

Umanets said he was not a vandal: "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."


The Rothko was defaced with words that appeared to read:"Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism."

Umanets, who studied art, is one of the founders of "Yellowism", which he describes as "neither art, nor anti-art".

"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 Yellowistic chambers.

"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. It was like a platform. I don't need to be famous, I don't want money, I don't want fame, I'm not 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 shocked 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."

Earlier this year, Rothko's Orange, red, yellow was sold for £53.8 million - the highest price ever paid for a piece of post-war art at auction.

The 1961 painting went under the hammer at Christie's in New York.

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