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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

31 October 2016

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

Halloween is upon us, and the Rake is hiding out from the art-world ghouls haunting the streets of London. But inevitably, they have migrated to Twitter too – and the world’s museums have been most obliging with spooky social media promotion.

Rakewell’s favourites include the National Churchill Museum channelling the ghostly greetings of the wartime PM from beyond the grave, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s picture post of cafe staff in costume, apparently offering ‘frighteningly good scones whilst looking rather spooky’.


As any fule kno, Ai Weiwei is a proud defender of the right to freedom of expression. Yet in a recent talk to promote his four concurrent shows in New York, it seems he may have expressed himself in rather too free a manner.

After some preliminary questions, the event’s compere, fellow artist and activist Tania Bruguera broached the subject of Ai’s controversial recreation of the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015. Ai shrugged off the views of his critics by saying that with that work, he was merely ‘raising questions’ and that he did not ‘give a damn s**t’ about how others perceived it. ‘Take it or f**k it,’ he reportedly shouted when the audience applauded.


Rakewell’s old pal Grayson Perry has a new book coming out. Entitled The Descent of Man, the artist’s forthcoming tome promises to explore and challenge the nature of masculinity in his inimitable style. In an extract published by the Guardian this weekend, Perry shared his thoughts on Rafael Vinoly’s Carbuncle Cup-winning ‘Walkie Talkie’ building in the City of London. ‘It is hideously ugly,’ he writes. ‘It’s like a big, blunt, phallic fist punching upwards. It could only have been designed by a man.’

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