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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

10 May 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.

A potty story reaches the Rake from Oregon. Last year, PBS screened an episode of the US version of Antiques Roadshow in which appraiser Stephen L. Fletcher revealed on air that a clay jug purchased for $300 at an estate sale had a true market value of up to $50,000.

‘This, in its own way, is really over the top,’ Fletcher told owner Alvin Barr. ‘It’s bizarre and wonderful. You even see a little bit of, like, Pablo Picasso going on here. It’s a little difficult to identify precisely when this was made, but I think it’s probably late 19th or early 20th century.’

Alas, as The Bulletin has revealed, the jug was in fact created in a high-school pottery class in the 1970s. However, despite the rather underwhelming circumstances of the work’s genesis, the PBS website claims it retains a value of $3,000–$5,000. As a red-faced Fletcher admits, that is ‘still not bad for a high schooler in Oregon’.


Star Wars Day – celebrated last week on 4 May – proved an irresistible opportunity for the art world to flaunt its inner geek. Creative museum tweets this year included MoMA’s exhortation to ‘Celebrate #StarWarsDay with Darth Vader’s favorite artist, Ad Reinhardt’ and the Louvre advertising a talk with the hashtag #MayThe4thBeWithYou. The British Museum, meanwhile, plumped for a photo of a chocolate coin depicting Vader’s distinctive face mask.

Nothing, however, quite beats a press email sent on behalf of London’s Olumide Gallery, which will apparently soon be displaying some Star Wars related headgear that was captioned as artist Ben Moore’s ‘striking crystal encrusted Stormtrooper Helmut’. Rakewell is perplexed – is this a typo, or do Darth Vader’s minions go by their given names these days?


It’s been a while since the Rake perused the pages of ‘90s hipster bible Dazed, but to say it caught his attention with its latest interview would be something of an understatement.

The dialogue in question was a chat with 18-year-old Spanish-Moroccan artist Karim Boumjimar, who has apparently had his nipples and belly button removed in order to sell them as art. ‘Narcissism is my main medium,’ Boumjimar says. He claims to be inspired by the Mona Lisa (‘she has no eyebrows or eyelashes’) and Cyprus born artist Stelarc. As for his next move, Boumjimar says he plans to travel to Bosnia for more body alterations. Whatever next? ‘I don’t know, maybe something with my feet.’

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