Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
George Osborne’s appointment to the editorship of the London Evening Standard has ruffled feathers across politics and the media, with many complaining that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer is busy enough as it is. But what, Rakewell wonders, is the British capital’s art world to make of the news?
The paper’s culture desk can probably rest easy. Quite aside from his enthusiasm for 1980s West Coast gangsta rap, the MP for Tatton is an avowed fan of the arts. As Robert Hewison reports in Cultural Capital, at the time of the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2013, ‘the chancellor, known for his sympathy for the arts, had had to ask [culture secretary Maria Miller] to make a stronger case [for arts funding] than the one she had originally proposed.’
‘He’s a rare non-philistine in government’, Osborne’s former advisor Rohan Silva told the Observer’s Rowan Moore last year, just weeks prior to his allegedly acrimonious sacking. Indeed, his artistic sensibilities have been known to stretch to all the way to his office decor. Osborne has been known to flaunt a coffee table book featuring Bob Dylan’s paintings and previously showed off his broad tastes by hanging works by Edward Lear and Grayson Perry.
Perry, himself a Labour voter, is rumoured to be the new Standard editor’s favourite artist. Speaking in 2012, the Turner Prize winner acknowledged that he was ‘not a supporter of Mr Osborne’s government’, but didn’t begrudge him his tastes: ‘I think it’s got a kind of radical chic cool to it’, he told the Guardian.