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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

14 June 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.

The Brexit debate rumbles on, but it seems that certain institutions can’t have their say. In a show of solidarity with the Remain camp, architect David Chipperfield commissioned several enormous printouts of artist Wolfgang Tillmans’s anti-Brexit posters, which he then sent out to major museums, hoping they would fly the flag of European unity. Alas, given the code of impartiality that governs UK public institutions, the museums in question were forced to turn down the politically loaded gifts.


At a book launch earlier this week, the Rake had the good fortune to bump into art critic and de Kooning biographer Mark Stevens. Along with his wife Annalyn Swan, Stevens is gearing up for the publication of his definitive biography of Francis Bacon – which, with any luck, will be out some time next year. He is also likeably sanguine as to the nature of his trade: ‘I get paid to turn apples into oranges,’ he told Rakewell, ‘that’s essentially what writing about art is.’


Here’s the quandary: you fancy a beach holiday, but the thought of spending a week without visiting a single art gallery is too abhorrent to bear. If only someone would stick some Matisse paintings in the sand, you think.

The Rake is delighted to announce the answer to your prayers. Until the end of the month, the city of Tel Aviv has turned its beach into an ‘art gallery’ by placing reproductions of works by Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, Kandinsky and Van Gogh amongst the sun loungers. The title of this masterclass in al fresco art appreciation? ‘Picasso in Bikini’, naturally.


Following mixed reviews for his show at White Cube last summer, Rakewell favourite Marc Quinn has taken a sabbatical from the gallery world in order to reinvent the ‘iconic’ Lady Dior handbag in his inimitable style. Quinn, of course, is no stranger to the world of fashion, having previously collaborated with Burberry. These new designs, created to mark the opening of Dior’s new shop in Mayfair, are adorned by patterns evoking the orchids in 17th-century Dutch still-life painting. ‘The bags take this abstraction one step further. They’re like walking adverts for the flower species,’ says Quinn. ‘I’m not really working for Dior, I’m working for the species of orchids.’

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