It's like the plot of a great art heist movie, only instead of Catherine Zeta Jones sexily manipulating her cat-suited body over infra red lasers as Sean Connery looks on, this particular crime against art involved a permanent marker and, well, that's pretty much it really. So, whodunnit?
According to the Evening Standard, it was a homeless penniless artist called Vladimir Umanets. How do they know? Because he signed it with his name: Vladimir Umanets. In fact, he also scrawled “A Potential Piece of Yellowism” to raise awareness of Yellowism, a concept he created with a friend. Their goal is to add personal touches to existing pieces of art which they believe will make them more valuable.
The Rothko Gallery's shut today while art people (or whatever they're called) assess the damage and determine whether the sneaky signature has indeed increased its value. We're no experts but we're going to hazard a guess and say: no.
This tale brought back horrible memories for this particular writer who lost out on the Wolverhampton Under-14s Art Prize in 1984 because Manfred Groine wrote his name on my entry: a collage of Winnie Cooper from the Wonder Years slow-dancing with Plain Jane Superbrain from Neighbours. As a result, not only did Manfred take home the first prize (a £2 WHSmith voucher) he also appeared on Blue Peter where he got to meet Five Star. So unfair. I still hate him.
By the way, if you're wondering just how on earth Vladimir managed to evade the infra red lasers and tight security...there weren't any. "After I did it I just left," he told the Standard, "They should work more on security." Vladimir now faces an uncertain future that could involve a short stay in the clink - not that it bothers him, "I have nothing more interesting to do” Well, you can't argue with that.
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