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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

30 May 2018

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

Dale Winton may have passed away, but his legend lives on. Speaking at the Hay Festival last weekend, the historian David Olosuga spoke in favour of repatriating looted objects in UK museums, providing a novel suggestion as to how to go about it. ‘A friend of mine, a TV producer, once came up with a brilliant solution’, he said. ‘We should have a special version of Supermarket Sweep where every country is given a huge shopping trolley and two minutes in the British Museum. Maybe he’s right, maybe that’s the way forward.’


Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the Kardashian clan, has been busy showing off her fledgling art collection on Instagram. As far as Rakewell can make out, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst both feature heavily at Jenner’s many properties in LA. And we may soon see more of her YBA-inflected decor: ‘Of course, with so many houses with so many rooms, we’re guessing there’s more where this came from, and we’re hoping Jenner continues her art tour in the months to follow,’ says Australian Vogue. ‘Regardless of what you think of the family, you have to agree they have seriously good taste in art’.


To New Zealand, where a museum has gone to great effort to recreate the sights, sounds and smells experienced by European settlers on their sea voyage to the newly claimed colony in the 1840s. Visitors to the Puke Ariki Museum in New Plymouth will now be able to sniff out the less-than-delightful odours that characterised long-haul travel in the mid-19th century, including dirty linen and vomit. ‘We’re trying to tell the story of what that voyage was like for the 1,000 or so settlers who came over from Devon and Cornwall to a new life in Taranaki,’ says the museum’s director, Kelvin Day. It could be worse, though: the British firm responsible for the scents also produces fragrances that evoke both badger excrement and ‘burning witch’.


Confused by Italian politics at the moment? You need look no further than Roman street artist Sirante’s take on Caravaggio’s Cardsharps, which depicts Silvio Berlusconi, Matteo Salvini of Lega and Luigi Di Maio of the Five Star Movement in place of the master’s lively double-crossers. What on earth could have inspired it?


And finally, a courtroom artist has furnished us with an early contender for next year’s BP Portrait Award…

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