Alleged Rothko Vandal Pleads Not Guilty

Lawyer says he welcomes trial to talk about art
By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2012 12:31 PM CDT
Alleged Rothko Vandal Pleads Not Guilty
This isn't the painting vandalized. It's Rothko's 'Orange, Red, Yellow,' which recently sold for $86 million. The vandalized one is called 'Black on Maroon.'   (AP Photo/Sotheby's Auction Housse, File)

The 26-year-old Polish man accused of vandalizing a Rothko painting probably worth millions pleaded not guilty to criminal damage today. Wlodzimierz Umaniec allegedly stepped over a wire at the Tate Modern in London on Sunday to tag the "Black on Maroon" painting with the cryptic message: "VLADIMIR UMANETS '12, A POTENTIAL PIECE OF YELLOWISM."

So what gives? We may find out soon: His lawyer says Umaniec, also spelled Umanets, welcomes a trial "so he can have the discussion he wishes to have about the art." Get a head start if you wish at the website, which has a hard-to-fathom manifesto co-written by the suspect, notes the Huffington Post. Tate officials, meanwhile, think they can restore the painting. (Read more rothko stories.)

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