Opinion Visual

Yellowism Ain’t Merely Bullshit

I heard about the Rothko controversy a while back and decided to have a look at what seemed like a hyper-intellectual form of graffiti: Yellowism. It happened right after I moved in to this place known as “The Yellow House”. It branded itself as a place for art and music, but it never presented itself as a gallery. Toward the end it just got to be a place entirely for parties and bands. Was I living in Yellowism? In order to find this out, I needed to look in to what Yellowism is, who created it, and how many people are practicing it.

The first place to look is the Yellowism homepage. Upon first glance, you see a real post-modern aesthetic and manifesto. Looks interesting. The manifesto is humorous, but by appearances, it is not. And from the serious mouth of one of these guys that I recall in a phone interview, “Yellowism is the most cutting edge thing in contemporary art.” This is actually my criticism about one third of contemporary artists: they do not recognize their own humor. C’mon, contemporary is all about cross-disciplinary, don’t forget to recognize your own comedy. Not all contemporary art or artists are humorous, to qualify that. But I can dig at least this realization within the manifesto: art does not exist outside of its context; the context is art itself. Okay. I can dig it. Right, because a gallery is highly intentional and itself required painting and planning etc. Even the social context of art is like a collective subconscious movement. So in order to be proactive and do something with their new context, they created an art form. Yellowism.

Nobody really practices this “form”. It’s just these guys. These guys are real art scene hipsters. By the looks of it, the polished reflection of Banksy. Who are they? Marcin Lodyga and Vladimir Umanets. They have some work for sale. Currently, they’re offering someone else’s work (Duchamp) with a signature on it. In order to avoid the gallery scene, they’re offering the piece by auction and specifying that it can only be seen in Yellowistic Chambers, such as in your own home but not a gallery. Clever, this way they can sell products. I suppose I just don’t take these dorks seriously. I hate them from their picture. Okay. 

If I can go no further in to this, then I can only make this gross generalization. It seems like a perversion of street art and Warhol folded over. This is such an attempt to take a premature idea, mold it in to popular art, and gain historic status at an instant. I think it was a bold move to sign a Rothko in a museum to bring attention to it, but what do you have to follow that attention up with? This hipster shot? Continuos texts trying to grasp at this nothing? “The physical form of objects and beings transported from art and reality is preserved, but all the forms carry only one, always and forever the same, identical message.” Who knows, they might be wizards. Or maybe they’re ushering in the post-post-modern by showing us that even the most unskilled and blasé are capable of expressing the meaning behind post-modernism. We have evolved.

But, as for the insight, it’s there. Signing a previous artist’s work and calling it Yellowism is not sufficient to compel me. But if what you’re saying when you do that is any piece can be taken, altered, then recycle it in to the ecosystem of arts, then you have something interesting to show me. Take for instance this video. Because it’s a video with a soundtrack altered, not shown in a gallery, it is Yellowism, taken one step further than a dumb signature on a masterpiece. If they can make more compelling works than this, then they will have something.

Was I living in a piece of Yellowism? In a way, yes. Because this house never became a gallery and it carried on the ashes of yesterdays parties, every day, the context for the display of art always referenced the last display, thus wrapping around and eating the context alive. If I were these guys, I would get a house and make a Yellowistic Chamber out of it. As for me and my house, I am turning it in to a gallery. I suppose I can’t show Yellowism. But wait… if The Yellow House was an expression of Yellowism, and it was itself art, then I have taken that and turned it in to a gallery. The Yellowistic Chamber is the street view and thus, I have created piece of Yellowism. My summation is that there does not need to be a manifesto or a movement and they can drop the shtick. Yellowism is bringing sand to the beach.

Sean Ongley

By Sean Ongley

Co-Founder of THRU Media. A background in non-profit, music, and radio preceded my ambitions here. Now, I aspire to produce new media and publish independent journalism at this site and beyond.

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