Apollo Magazine

The Rake’s Progress: A Week in Gossip

Alex Salmond is enamoured of his new portrait; Norman Foster's colourful wardrobe; and Paris Hilton hits the decks at Art Basel Miami Beach

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.

‘The art of politics is not to lie’, Scotland’s former First Minister told the BBC’s This Week in May. Perhaps so, but when it comes to the art of, er, painting, it seems the MP for Gordon is somewhat less sure of his priorities.

So enamoured was he of his new portrait by Scottish artist Gerard M Burns that he elected to miss a debate on possible UK intervention in Syria in order to unveil it at the Scottish National Gallery. Predictably, his no-show at the House of Commons caused a media storm, and many excuses and justifications have gone back and forth since.

This is far from the first time that a likeness of Salmond has caused him misfortune. At last year’s 5 November celebrations in Lewes, East Sussex, revellers blew up a giant effigy of the politician, prompting complaints that the ceremonial dynamiting was a criminal act. Rakewell is not certain he’d like to be stuck in a room with Gerard Burns’ new portrait, but he sincerely hopes it does not meet a similar fate.

While it can’t be said that he discovered anything terribly shocking about Norman Foster in his interview with the Observer’s Rowan Moore last weekend, Rakewell was pleased to see the architect is upping the ante with his sartorial choices. Foster was pictured in a day-glo green jacket with a nattily patterned floral shirt. Like his rival Richard Rogers, it would seem that the man behind the Gherkin and the Millau Viaduct is a devotee of the loud hue.

Judging by their wardrobes, these grand old men of British architecture appear to be doing everything in their power to avoid being described as their discipline’s éminences grises. Besides, nothing says ‘I’m creative, me!’ quite like dressing up as a lava lamp for a press photo.

There was a time when no art event was ever truly complete unless it was graced by the presence of professional famous person Paris Hilton. Indeed, so ubiquitous was she around the middle of the last decade that back in 2006 Banksy was inspired to deface copies of her debut album. But events took a downward turn for the self styled socialite, television personality, singer, model, actress, businesswoman and author, and her toponymic name disappeared from the pages of the great art periodicals.

But all those who wrote her off as a MySpace era has-been were silenced when she resurfaced as a DJ with an annual slot at Art Basel Miami Beach. This year, she will return to the decks of South Beach’s Wall club for another arty blast, and for a mere $80, you could gain entry to what the venue promises to be an ‘epic Art Basel experience’. ‘If you thought last year’s vibe with Paris Hilton couldn’t be beat, just wait until we open the doors for this party!’, reads the club’s website. Tantalising.

Alas, Rakewell is torn. Woman in Gold star Katie Holmes has decided to host her own party on the same night, thereby creating the cruellest scheduling dilemma since the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing went head to head in a ratings war. Which to go for? The Rake knows not.

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

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