Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
We’re about as far from 1 April as the calendar allows, but this has proved no bar to London’s most peculiar and least trustworthy new ‘museum’. Last week, and for one week only, the Museum of Lies opened in Mayfair’s suitably shady Shepherd Market. Suspicious that someone might be pulling his leg, your correspondent headed off to investigate.
Rakewell’s scepticism proved to be unfounded – up to a point. Though the place did exist in the bricks-and-mortar sense (albeit only in pop-up form), its exhibits must have left all but the most gullible visitor scratching their heads. Highlights of the ‘collection’ included a display case of potatoes that purportedly belonged to figures including Sir Francis Drake and Nicki Minaj, a ‘relic of the world’s oldest goldfish bowl’ and a prototype for a time machine that appeared to consist of a Furby doll suspended in green slime.
Elsewhere, a photograph showed a carriage being drawn across the Isle of Mull by crabs, while a small robotic dog said to have been used to entertain Henry VIII in parliament took pride of place in a corner. The museum was the brainchild of the Robin Collective, a group of designers, artists, chefs, entertainers, photographers and writers who specialise in pop-ups and off-beat events. The space doubled as a bar serving – among other things – cocktails apparently flavoured with Fairy Liquid. Which is the first time the Rake has ever turned down a glass of bubbly…