Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


A Philosophical Enfranchisement of Yellowism


Philosophy Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


When Vladimir Umanets (whose name is an anagram of Im [sic] true vandalism) entered the Tate Modern on October 7th, 2012 and nonchalantly defaced Rothko's Black on Maroon, he was operating, not as an artist or a vandal, but as a Yellowist. Yellowism is neither art nor anti-art, but instead a supposedly new element of culture that exists for its own sake and is about nothing but the color yellow. It might be tempting to write Yellowism and the Rothko defacement off as an immature prank or intellectual fraud, but, I argue, Umanets has, intentionally or not, made salient issues that should be of interest to philosophers of art. In particular, reflection on these matters raises interesting questions about the relation between convention, stipulation, and ontology.

Conference Name

American Philosophical Association, Central Division

Conference Location

Chicago, IL

This document is currently not available here.