The Royal Academy goes gonzo

13 December 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’s been quite a week for the Royal Academy, what with the venerable old institution electing the first female president in its 251-year history. What has really caught your correspondent’s eye, however, is the radical new world of the RA’s Twitter account, which has decided to throw caution to the wind and end 2019 in full gonzo mode.

Since mid November, the account (423,000 followers and counting) has taken a maverick turn, abandoning its previously austere tone and launching into surreal tangents and other flights of fancy: artists’ daemons, tales of pigeons and London taxi drivers, and an extensive ‘choose your own adventure thread’ featuring broccoli and Scampi Fries (which are not, to Rakewell’s knowledge and disappointment, available in any of the RA’s extensive cafes and bars).

In recent weeks, @royalacademy has launched various wacky aphorisms and off-piste puzzlers:

…Instances of madcap art criticism:

…A touch of light trolling:

…And, erm, a creative emoji collage:

What has got into the Royal Academy? Is this institutional critique? A student art project? Russian interference? Rakewell demands to know!

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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