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David Davis, the accidental Roman emperor

29 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

Strange news from County Durham, where a TV antiques expert and amateur artist attempting to sculpt a Roman style bust accidentally ended up with a more or less convincing likeness of… former Brexit Secretary David Davis.

‘I had started sculpting a Roman emperor, it wasn’t supposed to look like anyone in particular – it was just my take on a classic,’ David Harper, told the Mail Online. ‘I showed it to my friends and they all thought it looked like David Davis MP. I didn’t mean it to be him, but that’s what it is now.’


A Los Angeles-based street artist named RETNA has been accused of vandalising the newly opened branch of Maddox Gallery in the city, having reportedly caused defaced ‘furniture, art, our front window, the gallery doors […] and more’, according to the gallery’s director. The attacker an estimated $50,000–100,000 worth of damage, with items targeted including work by Damien Hirst.

As reported on tmz.com, eyewitnesses claimed that RETNA was angry at Maddox because the gallery has not displayed his own work alongside Hirst’s. Talk about wrecks of the unbelievable…


This week, Jerry Saltz makes an intriguing appearance on the cover of New York magazine, variously decked out as Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dalí. Explaining the rationale behind his fancy dress, Saltz admitted that getting kitted out as Dalí was a particular thrill. ‘It gets something of my inner ham and outer crazy that feels close to the bone. And almost hurts. Is funny, embarrassing, strange, intense.’ Kahlo, however, posed more of a challenge. ‘[I was] afraid my pantomime clowning might seem like a comment on her. Her visage is so strong, however, that it beats off all pretenders. Including me.’

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