Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories
2019 marks many anniversaries – not least the 70th birthday of that most divisive of Berlin delicacies, the currywurst. Created by fast food hawker Herta Heuwer in the wake of the Berlin airlift, the recipe was supposedly the result of mixing curry powder and ketchup obtained from British soldiers and pouring the sauce over a traditional bratwurst. The currywurst has since become the go-to snack for the German capital’s late-night revellers and an emblem of Berlin: indeed, in 2009, an entire museum dedicated to the meaty treat was opened in the city to mark the 60th anniversary of Heuwer’s invention.
For the 70th anniversary, the Berlin National Mint has issued a coin dedicated to the city’s most famous street food, depicting a grinning Heuwer standing next to a luridly coloured likeness of her creation. While it may not be the worst way to encounter the dish (that would require eating it), it’s fair to say that the coin has been met with some less than savoury reviews…
The state mint in Berlin has issued a memorial coin celebrating 70 years of currywurst and it may just be the most horrible thing in the history of numismatics pic.twitter.com/SgGJ5TtgWH
— Oliver Moody (@olivernmoody) January 14, 2019
— Ben Huberman (@benzbox) January 14, 2019
In other news…
Loic Gouzer hit the headlines in December when he announced his imminent departure from Christie’s. Gouzer, the auctioneer behind the record-breaking sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi, has so far kept schtum as to what he plans to do post-Christie’s, but he did recently grant an interview to Artnet in which he offered some cryptic clues – telling Henri Neuendorf that ‘Paul Simon once said before you set your sails you have to drift in the breeze.’ More gnomically altogether, Gouzer took the opportunity to wax lyrical on the vagaries of the art world: ‘I’d say that the mystery of the art market is its mystery. If you take away the mystery then it would not be mysterious anymore.’ Indeed.
The New Yorker has published a fascinating profile of high-stakes art thief Vjeran Tomic. Inspired to start pinching paintings after a childhood visit to the Musée de l’Orangerie, Tomic is best known for a heist in 2010 at Paris’s Musée d’Art Moderne, in the course of which he filched masterpieces by the likes of Modigliani, Matisse and Léger. Since being sent to prison in 2017, he seems to have spent his time learning how to draw. Described as ‘starkly beautiful’ by New Yorker writer Jake Halpern, Tomic’s drawings depict ‘oval-shaped sugar pots and goblet-like teacups’. ‘I don’t imagine becoming a great master,’ Tomic says.