A 1958 Mark Rothko painting worth millions of dollars, Black On Maroon, was defaced by graffiti at the Tate Modern on Sunday. The vandalism was some sort of ‘artistic statement’ by a guy with a neck tattoo.
Questions will be asked about security at the gallery, where the Rothkos are not protected by glass and are separated from visitors only be a low-level barrier that can easily be stepped over.
Typically, each room is monitored by a single gallery attendant.
It was Rothko himself who stipulated how his work should be displayed at the Tate.
The defaced painting was one of a series commissioned from Rothko in 1958 for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York’s Seagram Building, but never installed.
In 1969, the artist donated nine of the paintings to the Tate on the proviso that they be displayed “as an immersive environment”. He died the following year.