Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Farewell, then, 2016. The past year has given us many neologisms: not least ‘Brexit’, and of course ‘Donaldism’, the Rake’s own humble contribution to the art-historical lexicon. For a more international look at 2016’s must-know buzzwords, your correspondent turns to the FT, where Simon Kuper has compiled a list of the world’s words of the year. Russia’s ‘phrase of the year’ was ‘Ochered na Serova/Aivazovskovo’ – which loosely translates as ‘queues for the exhibitions of the works of painters Serov and Aivazovsky [in Moscow]’.
It wasn’t a purely philistine year for English speakers, though. Merriam-Webster tweeted in late November that ‘fascism’ was the online dictionary’s most viewed entry for the year to date, but finally settled on ‘surreal’ for its word of 2016. In a year when the (actively revolting) recipes contained in Salvador Dalí’s long out-of-print cookbook could make the Christmas bestseller lists, Rakewell feels the choice was more than apt…
Strange news, via the Times diary: according to an aide, EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has an ‘addiction’ to highlighter pens, and reportedly carries a few in his pocket wherever he goes. But his choice of stationary is used for more artistic purposes than one might imagine. Apparently, Mr Juncker is often to be found doodling on briefings. ‘Sometimes, […] if he really likes it he draws a heart’, says his aide.
Over to the grand avenues of Belgrade, where the vice president of the Democratic Party of Serbia, Uros Jankovic, has worked himself into a tizzy over proposals to build a statue of Andy Warhol. Quite why the city has planned a tribute to the bewigged art titan is anybody’s guess, but Jankovic’s outbursts prompt yet more questions. ‘Even abroad, Andy Warhol and Pop Art are not recognised as great art but as a fad,’ he argued. Try telling that to Tate Modern or MoMA, Mr Jankovic…
As reported late last year, artist Stuart Semple was so outraged by Anish Kapoor taking exclusive artistic rights to the world’s ‘blackest black’ that he created his own pink pigment in response. He then made it available on his website for anyone to enjoy. Anyone, that is, but Anish Kapoor.
The ever-resourceful Kapoor, however, has flouted Semple’s embargo. The artist posted a photo of his middle finger dipped inside a pot of the pigment, accompanied by a caption stating ‘Up yours #pink’.