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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

18 January 2018

Timothy Spall took playing the role of J.M.W. Turner on screen so seriously that he even learned how to paint. His newly acquired skills might come in handy again, for Spall is now set to play L.S. Lowry in a film directed by Adrian Noble. Your correspondent is heartened to hear that the actor has no qualms about being typecast: ‘I’m trying to tick off all the artists,’ he told the Guardian. Let’s hope his remark isn’t as jokey as it seems. The Rake is sure Spall would make a fine Francis Bacon…


Robert Rauschenberg fans, sharpen your knives: angered by the supposedly silly sums the artist’s work fetches these days, New York artist-designer Nikolas Bentel is proposing to destroy a Rauschenberg print ‘in protest’ at the ‘absurdities of the art world’. Inspired by Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing, Bentel proposes to sell off every square inch of a signed print of the artist’s Sketch for a Monogram as advertising space, mirroring the idea of market arbitrage. According to Hyperallergic, each ‘share’ will be marketed for $92.59 in the hope of raising $10,000, and Bentel is confident that he can achieve his target. Quartz describes the initiative as ‘art protest in the era of crowdfunding’.


While Donald Trump has been more complimentary about south London than about, say, Haiti, south Londoners have been riled by the suggestion – prompted by Trump’s comments about the new US embassy in Battersea – that they inhabit an ‘off location’. Indeed, in art-historical terms, SW8 is anything but. As the Guardian’s Tim Dowling pointed out:


A fond farewell to Derek Kidd, artist, one-time subeditor at IPC, and Soho drinking-partner of figures such as Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Giving an address at his funeral on Tuesday, the artist Hugh Buchanan recalled that after Kidd was fired from Country Life, he encountered a stranger in a noisy pub, who, impressed by his magazine experience, offered him a job as editor of Poetry Monthly. Alas, Derek should have picked a quieter watering hole: arriving for an interview at the address he’d been given, he discovered that he was actually in the running to edit that other esteemed literary title, Poultry Monthly…


The Times reports that Harrods is to do away with Innocent Victims, the bronze sculpture of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed that has stood on the department store’s lower ground-floor for the past 20 years. Though the building is listed, it seems this will have no bearing on the dazzlingly kitsch monument’s future. ‘These are temporary structures, and were not part of the original assessment of the building’s architectural and historic merit,’ said English Heritage’s Helen Bowman. ‘We appreciate, however, that there may be affection for them.


In an interview with Gareth Harris in the FT, street-art impresario and Rakewell-favourite Steve Lazarides revealed that he’d been somewhat less than frank when applying to study photography at Bristol’s Filton Technical College. ‘I took a photography portfolio belonging to my mate’s dad to the interview, and got in,’ he says. ‘I met the lecturer years later and he said, “The only reason I took you on is because I thought anyone willing to lie that much would work really hard on the course.”

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