One of the Mark Rothko mural paintings that inspired John Logan’s play, “Red,” which had a recent acclaimed run at the Mark Taper Forum starring Alfred Molina as the artist, was vandalized Sunday in its gallery at the Tate Modern in London.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that the Tate issued a statement confirming that on Sunday afternoon, “a visitor defaced one of Rothko’s Seagram murals by applying a small area of black paint with a brush to the painting,” and that police were investigating.
The Guardian said that museum visitor Tim Wright, who posted a photograph of the vandalized mural on Twitter, said the man who defaced it with a scrawl that included the name “Vladimir” had sat quietly on a bench in front of the painting before the assault on its lower right corner. It was one of the paintings hanging in a special Rothko Room installed at the Tate earlier this year.
The Seagram Co. commissioned Rothko in 1958 to create murals for a room in the Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram building skyscraper in Manhattan, designed by architectural greats Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson.