Do we sanctify art too much? Or should art be alive?
That’s the claim of a man who defaced a Rothko painting at Tate Modern on Sunday.
Vladimir Umanets, the founder of a movement he calls “Yellowism”, compared himself to Marcel Duchamp, saying: “Art allows us to take what someone’s done and put a new message on it.”
He cited Duchamp’s appropriation of a urinal in the name of art, Fountain (1917), as both a context and explanation for his actions.
He said the most contemporary thing to do now was to “abandon and live art” and hopes he “will be considered as someone who really creates”.
What is one person’s art is clearly another person’s vandalism – and who is to say one person’s view is more important than another?
But when a piece of artwork is located where it is enjoyed by thousands of art-lovers every year and one person takes it on themselves to inflict their opinions onto everyone else – it’s pretty hard to accept it as anything other than ignorant.
Or else we would be all stealing Henry Moore sculptures and selling them for scrap metal.
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