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Rakewell

The fine art of losing elections

18 May 2017

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

You win some, you lose some – as some politicians know all too well. One such is Hillary Clinton, who in the run-up to the US presidential election last November, invested in substantial quantities of confetti to celebrate her expected victory. As we know, things didn’t work out that way. But one enterprising artist, Bunny Burson, has ensured that Hillary’s confetti won’t go to waste by turning it into an installation.

The work, entitled AND STILL I RISE, features strands of the stuff continuously blowing around inside a glass vitrine, and is now on display at St Louis’s Bruno David Gallery. According to a statement from the gallery, the work is intended to encourage young girls ‘to be bold, to dream big, to believe in themselves and to break their own glass ceilings’.

But Clinton’s confetti isn’t the only over-optimistic political symbol to have been granted an afterlife as art. Back in 2015, Ed Miliband, then leader of the UK Labour Party, took the strange decision to have his electoral pledges inscribed onto a massive block of stone, complete with his signature.

The ‘EdStone’, as it became known, cost the party more than £7,000 and was unveiled to blanket ridicule, with then-mayor of London Boris Johnson describing it as a ‘weird commie slab’. Labour went on to lose the election, and the stone – by now a source of considerable embarrassment to the party – was reportedly placed in storage.

Now, however, the ‘EdStone’ has resurfaced in the garden of an upmarket restaurant in west London. ‘We bought the stone a couple of years ago at a charity auction’, said a spokesman for Caprice Holdings, the restaurant’s parent company. ‘We thought it would be fun to have Ed’s Stone, which was such an iconic image of the election, and put it outside in the garden.’ So there you have it. Who knew there was such an art to losing elections?

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

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