Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories
Last week, the Elysée Palace issued a new range of official souvenirs celebrating the French president, Emmanuel Macron. Among the objects was a coffee mug bearing Macron’s official portrait – the one he was he was ridiculed for shortly after taking office, after it was revealed to have been retouched. Before the vessels had even gone on sale, a scandal was in the offing.
Though described as being made from Limoges porcelain, it now turns out that the offending objects are no such thing: as Alain Mouly, the president of the Limoges porcelain makers’ union clarified, the high cost of manufacture means that mugs are no longer manufactured with the material in France. ‘C’est croquignolesque,’ he said, tipping his hat to one of the Macron’s more notable catchphrases.
Nevertheless, the faux pas doesn’t seem to have done sales of presidential merchandise much harm. According to the Guardian, the range brought in some €350,000 in its first three days on sale. If nothing else, President Macron could surely teach museum gift shops a thing or two.
In other news…
In the Daily Mirror, Russell Myers describes his visit to the International Friendship Exhibition, North Korea, a museum in which the country exhibits gifts and artefacts donated by foreign nations. Describing the institution as a ‘twisted museum of propaganda’, Myers lists some of the objects among the 115,000 in its collection. Highlights reportedly include a rhino horn presented by Robert Mugabe, a bulletproof limousine courtesy of Stalin and – bizarrely – a Wigan Warriors rugby league shirt.
Speaking to fellow artist Matthew Barney for the recently revived Interview magazine, Sarah Lucas recounts a novel solution for keeping one’s hallway free of junk mail: ‘I once covered the front door of my house in pizza leaflets. It was getting right on my tits, finding a bunch of them every day on my doormat. I don’t even eat pizza. […] The leaflet delivery guys didn’t know what to make of it. […] Security-wise, it’s a great advantage to live in a scary-looking house.’
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‘She changed how we encounter sculpture’ – remembering Phyllida Barlow (1944–2023)