Apollo Magazine

The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

The artist living inside a boulder in Paris; the portrait of Tony Blair that nobody wants; and the art publisher boosted by the Oscars

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

French artist Abraham Poincheval is not one to do things by half measures. In previous years, his performance pieces have seen him sewn up inside a stuffed bear, being interred beneath a boulder and walking the length of France in a straight line. Last week, however, he pulled out all the stops by voluntarily entombing himself within a giant rock in Paris’s Palais de Tokyo. With only rudimentary supplies and as yet undisclosed toilet facilities, Poincheval has been stuck within the boulder since Wednesday, and insists he will stay there for a full week. Once out, he will sit down on top of a dozen birds’ eggs, hardly budging until they hatch in three to four weeks. For the moment, though, he seems to be enjoying his time inside the rock. ‘I do not feel oppressed [by the rock], I feel completely at ease, in real connection with it’, he says.


Following Tony Blair’s speech decrying the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union as a blind leap, The Times reports that the former prime minister is facing uncertainties of an altogether more personal nature. Apparently, the Parliamentary Art Collection, from which MPs can select works of art to hang in their office, includes a large portrait of the erstwhile member for Sedgefield that no politician dares touch. As Patrick Kidd writes, the only MP to have considered requesting the painting was a Tory – who allegedly then passed up the opportunity because it ‘would cause nightmares’.


Eagle-eyed employees at Phaidon were swift to pick up on a marketing opportunity that was provided by Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony. In the green room backstage, pride of place on the bookshelves was given over to Le Corbusier Le Grand, the publishing house’s weighty 2008 title on the life and work of the great architect. Unlikely though it sounds, Rakewell would love to imagine that Warren Beatty was just daydreaming about modular planning and streets in the sky when he awarded the best picture Oscar to the wrong film.

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