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The National Enquirer is now a museum (sort of)

30 May 2019

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

It is best known as a tabloid that peddles celebrity gossip and has an insatiable appetite for conspiracy theories. Now, however, the National Enquirer is branching out into the museum world. Last week in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the ribbon was cut at National Enquirer Live!, a museum-cum-theme park, brought to us by FrontPage Attractions, that seeks to recreate the tabloid’s guilty-pleasure appeal through a series of exhibits themed around its biggest scoops.

An exhibit that explores ‘the different theories’ surrounding the car crash that killed Princess Diana has unsurprisingly drawn criticism. But it’s not as though the place specialises in good taste: other displays are devoted to the O.J. Simpson trial and to Michael Jackson – who appears as an animatronic sculpture, yellow ‘Thriller’ eyes and all, in his hyperbaric chamber.

Other attractions include a ‘UFO and Space Conspiracies Room’, which includes material on the title’s oft-repeated speculations that NASA faked the moon landing in 1969, and something described as a ‘Kim Kardashian Selfie Station’. What James Cohen, the Enquirer’s art-loving new owner, makes of it is anyone’s guess – but as the magazine itself might put it: enquiring minds want to know.

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