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The Rake’s Progress: A Week in Gossip

22 November 2015

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

November is still with us, but Christmas has come early for Rakewell. Victoria Beckham has commissioned artist Eddie Peake to decorate her Mayfair boutique with a site specific installation. The result is Courgettes, ‘a striking word sculpture executed in vibrant blue acrylic paint’, according to the Telegraph’s ‘Luxury’ website.

According to Mrs Beckham, who first encountered Peake’s work when she saw images of his installation at the Barbican earlier this year, she is ‘incredibly excited to be able to showcase the work over the Christmas period’. Peake himself is no less complimentary of the chanteuse turned art patron: ‘I find Victoria quite an impressive figure with a good spirit’, he said, describing the clothes shop as an ‘unexpected context’ for his art.

‘Unexpected’ is certainly one way of putting it. After all, one doesn’t need the longest of memories to recall Peake’s immortal statement to the London Evening Standard a month ago: ‘It’s much more of a cliché to wear clothes. Everyone here is wearing clothes.’

A few weeks ago, the New York Times made much of President Obama’s taste for abstract art. According to the Gray Lady, the Obamas have chosen to decorate the rooms of the White House with works by artists including Rauschenberg, Albers and Rothko, in stark contrast to the more traditional historical portraits that adorn the building’s walls.

One person who may have been paying attention to his American counterpart’s tastes is British Prime Minister David Cameron, who Rakewell spotted at the opening of Pace gallery’s three-man show devoted to John Hoyland, Anthony Caro and Kenneth Noland. Within moments of arriving, Cameron and his security detail were whisked into a side office of the Burlington Gardens gallery.

Could Downing Street be about to welcome an influx of modern art? Or was the Prime Minister just in Mayfair in search of free white wine? The Rake needs to know.

It is with great excitement that Rakewell can announce that Sean Rad, CEO and co-founder of dating app Tinder, is to start collecting art. Speaking to the London Evening Standard last week on the eve of the stock-market debut of the Match Group, the app’s parent company, is to go public, the aptly named Rad confessed that he is planning to hit the galleries and auction houses, aided and abetted by PR-guru Matthew Freud.

For all his glittering success, Rad (a self confessed Tinder ‘addict’) claims that he hasn’t let the swiping go to his head – be it on his smartphone or in the pages of Vanity Fair, which recently published a piece criticising the wider implications of services like Tinder. Though he professes a lack of time for the finer things in life at the moment, Rad, you see, is looking for ‘an intellectual challenge’. And judging on his vocabulary alone – he appears to believe that ‘sodomy’ is ‘a term for someone who gets turned on by intellectual stuff’ – he certainly needs it.

Fortunately, the response to the interview suggests that he may well have time on his hands to pursue such cerebral interests. According to Newsweek, Tinder has moved to distance itself from the young mogul since the piece was published. Last week, it issued a statement declaring that ‘The article was not approved or condoned by, and the content of the article was not reviewed by, the company or any of its affiliates’. Rad had allegedly got his figures in a muddle and apparently flaunted SEC rules. ‘It’s a silly and unfortunate article’, Match Group Chairman Gregory Blatt opined. Worse still, he also provoked a furious response from Nancy Jo Sales, the author of the critical Vanity Fair piece, on whom he professed to have conducted ‘background research’.

If Rad does indeed find himself the time to throw himself into collecting art, the Rake advises him to divert his ‘research’ activities to art history, rather than the personal lives of journalists who refuse to toe the company line.

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

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