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Rakewell

The Rake’s Progress: last week in gossip

4 July 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.

Reviewing a report into local authority cuts, Lancaster City Council member Darren Clifford (Labour) has gone on the offensive against the city’s museums. ‘Museums can no longer be “cabinets of curiosities,”‘ he argued, ‘they need to be interactive, dynamic and educational, centred around the visitor experience and powered by a commercial engine.’ Clifford then went on to accuse Lancaster’s museums of being ‘quite literally stuck in the past.’

Lancashire County Council lists 11 museums on its website, three of which are owned by Lancaster City Council (the City Museum, Maritime Museum and Cottage Museum) and all of which are in some way historical attractions. Noble as Clifford’s endeavour to modernise institutions may be, Rakewell does rather wonder what the esteemed councillor understands by the meaning of the word ‘museum’.

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Excellent news. US cable channel HBO has announced the launch of a nationwide art competition, whereby UK fans of Game of Thrones are invited to submit ‘unique pieces of art’ based on the series. Winning entries will be exhibited in an unspecified London gallery later in the year. The contest, initiated to mark the digital download release of the franchise’s latest series, purports to encourage ‘any form of artistic expression’. Make of that what you will. Personally, the Rake would like to see a GoT-inspired take on Tracey Emin’s My Bed. Indeed, the last time he binged on a box set of the series, said Bed seemed tidy by comparison to his own hovel.

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At long last, professional provocateur Michel Houellebecq’s exhibition ‘Rester Vivant’ (‘Staying Alive’) has opened at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo. Attractions include pictures of Clément, the author’s (sadly deceased) Welsh corgi, photographs of an abandoned children’s playground and a distinctly depressing image of the ‘Europe’ shopping mall in Calais. The significance, it seems is not coincidental: ‘What’s very amusing is that the opening of the exhibition will coincide with a possible Brexit. It’s June 23 [when the UK held its referendum on membership of the European Union]. It’s going to be hot!’ he told the Financial Times last month. ‘I’d love it. I’d love it if the English gave the starting signal for the dismantling. I hope they won’t disappoint me.’ For better or for worse, we, erm, haven’t. Book your tickets now…

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

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