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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

12 September 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.

Rakewell enjoys a flutter, and never more so than when it concerns the art world. So it is that he’s been weighing up the odds on potential successors to outgoing Tate director Nicholas Serota. At present, William Hill’s art watchers seem to believe that Tate Modern director Frances Morris (3/1) is the most likely candidate, but coming close behind are the Whitworth’s Maria Balshaw and the Whitechapel Gallery’s Iwona Blazwick, with odds of 7/2 and 4/1 respectively. Yet the bookie’s shortlist contains some tempting longer odds: while it seems unlikely that Klaus Biesenbach (14/1) will cross the Pond anytime soon, how about the likes of Tate St Ives’s Mark Osterfield (14/1) or Serota’s former no. 2, Royal Opera House chief executive Alex Beard (12/1)?


Should you be in search of a different kind of art/betting crossover, then head to Maryland’s MGM’s National Harbor resort and casino when it opens to the public later in 2016. For reasons beyond the Rake’s understanding, Bob Dylan has been invited to install a giant iron gate at the entrance, which will remain on permanent display.

‘Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow,’ Dylan said in a statement last week. ‘Mr. Dylan is undoubtedly one of the greatest musicians of our time, but his incredible metalwork sculptures are a testament to his creative genius and ability to transcend mediums,’ added MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. Others may not be so sure: when Dylan first exhibited his gates at London’s Halcyon Gallery in 2013, some critics concluded that he might be better off sticking to the day job.


Antony Gormley is the man of the moment. In addition to a big new show at the Bermondsey White Cube (opening 30 September), he has made a radio programme for the BBC in which he challenges British Museum director Hartwig Fischer to attend to the institution’s ‘missing continents’ by giving the cultures of Africa, Oceania and the Americas greater prominence.

And speaking of missing things… Also in the news is Gormley’s sculpture A View, A Place, which disappeared after it was exhibited at the Stoke-on-Trent National Garden Festival in 1986, presumed either lost, sold, stolen or destroyed. Last week, Historic England issued an appeal to find the missing work, and swiftly received a rather surprising response.

Art UK’s Katey Goodwin reports that Vivien Lovell, the sculpture coordinator of the National Garden Festival in 1986, contacted her to explain that the sculpture had suffered significant damage after curious visitors began poking their fingers into its eye sockets. On seeing photo evidence, Gormley decided to have the work deinstalled and returned to his studio. It remains in storage to this day.

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