Apollo Magazine

Bloody ballads and semen straw sculptures

The latest bizarre artworks to come to Rakewell’s attention feature blood donations and cattle-rearing devices

Production Graph (2019), Maria McKinney

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

To Charleroi in Belgium, where Russian artist Andrei Molodkin is calling for youthful volunteers to donate their blood in order for a bizarre new work. Once solicited, the blood will be pumped through medical refrigerators by industrial compressors, then channelled into empty vessels that will form phrases from pop songs censored by the authorities in Russia, Britain, the USA and elsewhere.

But Molodkin’s work (inevitably titled Young Blood) is only the second most peculiar bodily fluid-themed show to have come to Rakewell’s attention this week. Over in Reading, the Museum of English Rural Life is about to mount a decidedly spunky exhibition. The institution has commissioned Dublin-based artist Maria McKinney to create a new body of work based on research into selective breeding and genetics in the context of cattle farming.

The result is a display that consists of photographs that depict bulls wearing unusual, multicoloured sculptures on their backs created using a rather specialised type of straw more commonly employed as an aid in the artificial insemination of cattle. Holy cow.

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