This weekend, as many of you now know, an intrepid artist named Vladimir Umanets strolled into the Tate Modern and scrawled a promotional message on the bottom right corner of Mark Rothko's "Black on Maroon" (1958).
The message read "A potential piece of yellowism," referring to, what else? Umanet's personal art movement, which "is about yellow and nothing more." Umanets has since come forward admitting to the defacement, although he refuses to see the act as a crime and instead argued he was increasing the work's value. After comparing himself to Marcel Duchamp, he was subsequently arrested.
While we are siding with Jezebel when they call Umanets a "pretentious idiot," he is far from the first to claim artistic license in defacing an artwork. Should we blame Picasso, who famously said "every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction"? Or should we blame Duchamp, who hung a urinal in a museum and let everyone fight over whether it was art or not? Ai Weiwei took a Han dynasty urn and threw it to the ground to get rid of tradition, didn't he? And let us not forget Cecilia Gimenez, who took a forgotten fresco and unwittingly made it a meme. In fact, what recent artist hasn't defaced something in one way or another?
We present you our 10 favorite examples of inspired art vandalism. Some are bombastic enough to make your blood boil, some are hilarious accidents and others are arguably good ideas. Take a look at the slideshow below and leave your opinion: Is there ever artistic merit in defacing a work of art?