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A Boris blunder for the Museum of London

23 November 2018

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories

Good news (of sorts) for Boris Johnson. Earlier this week, a number of water cannon trucks purchased on the orders of the former mayor of London were sold to a reclamation yard, reportedly representing a net loss of £300,000 to the taxpayer. The vehicles were never actually deployed: their use was banned in the UK by the then home secretary (Theresa May) shortly after the purchase.

According to the Guardian, the Museum of London is now looking into the possibility of purchasing parts of the trucks in order to help tell the ‘complex story about modern policing in the city’. ‘Our curators keep their ears to the ground to make sure that at the very least we’re considering significant objects that tell important stories about contemporary London’, a museum spokesperson said. The scrap yard has already begun dismantling the vehicles – certainly no metaphor for Johnson’s reputation, Rakewell stresses.

In other news…

One work of art associated with Annabel’s nightclub was notably absent from the Annabel’s sale at Christie’s on 20 November. Last year, the nightclub’s owner, Richard Caring, acquired a 1937 Picasso painting of Marie-Therese Walter entitled Girl with a Red Beret and Pompom. He then took the unorthodox decision to retitle the work, baptising it after the storied venue. ‘People can do what the hell they want, but it’s grotesque,’ the art historian T.J. Clark told The Times. ‘I think it’s just a rather silly piece of commerciality.’


Another week, another dubious Donald Trump-related art proposal. The latest one comes courtesy of British artist Alexander De Cadenet, whose sculpture Trump Burger No. 1  – which depicts the fast food loving President astride a beast, traversing a golden hamburger stuffed with automobiles, a skull and other detritus – is apparently to be blown up to life-sized scale and exhibited in the centre of a ‘northern British city’. According to the Sunday Times, the anonymous businessman who bought the work will not name the metropolis in question until planning permission is granted to erect the doubtless splendid sculpture. ‘My American friends are embarrassed by [Trump],’ he explained. ‘I find him constantly amusing. The statue will say something about the personality of our time. The art is a little bit dark.’

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.