ARTS & CULTURE
02/28/2013 12:53 pm ET Updated Feb 28, 2013

Yellowism Video: Short Documentary Explores Bizarre Movement That Inspired Rothko Vandalism (VIDEO)

Do you remember Yellowism? The bizarre not art, not anti-art movement that inspired a young Yellowist vandal named Vladimir Umanets -- né Wlodzimierz Umaniec -- to tag a Rothko painting worth over $8 million with his name? A new short documentary delves into how the movement spurred one of the more bizarre vandalism stories in recent history.

Bauhaus fans will notice the first few beats of Startled Horse's documentary are from the band's 1979 hit, "Bela Lugosi's Dead." It just gets weirder from here, as the music abruptly stops, and Umanets enters the frame. "I don't know, I just walked in... I didn't expect the Rothko would be on display, but Rothko was on display," he says, laughing.

Interspersed are as clips from the media frenzy surrounding the movement and its inscrutable manifesto, along with commentary from an authoritative Englishman. Not to spoil it, but we find the movement is just as obscure and maddening after the documentary as we did before.

Yellowist Marcin Lodyga attempts to explain why Umanets felt the urge to tag the Rothko work: "Those paintings can become works of yellowism if you transmit them in a yellowistic chamber." We wonder if that epiphany was worth two years in jail. (Read an interview Marina Galperina at AnimalNY did with Lodyga in Berlin last year here if you want to know more about the duo's motivations.)

Does this documentary illuminate WTF is Yellowism or does it further confuse and enrage? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

[h/t AnimalNY]

PHOTO GALLERIES
Wlodzimierz Umaniec, aka Vladimir Umanets

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