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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

4 October 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.

Excellent news from America. According to artnet News, rapper-cum-philosopher-cum-actor Snoop Dogg has unveiled a portrait of lifestyle guru Martha Stewart. But this is no traditional likeness: instead of depicting anything even vaguely reminiscent of Stewart, Snoop has chosen to paint her ‘spirit animal’ – in this case, for reasons unknown to the Rake, a dog.

The Doggfather has past form when it comes to fine art. Having taken up painting when on tour in Australia some years ago, he found he just couldn’t stop. As he told Paper magazine in 2014, in a piece titled ‘Snoop Dogg is the Jackson Pollock of our time’:

‘I just be on a straight binge every time, like, boom, boom, boom. All the way. Then when I finish, if I’m smoking — which, I’m usually smoking — my finishing touch is ashes or me just blowing smoke on the picture. Just give it that ambience. Then I just stand back and look at the s***. And I say, “Some m**********r is gonna buy this piece of s***.”’

Which may explain something, at least.


With Jeremy Corbyn re-elected as Labour leader, all eyes were on the party’s annual conference in Liverpool last week. To accompany the pantomime of internecine strife, the pro-Corbyn grassroots movement Momentum organised a four day festival of art and politics called ‘The World Transformed’ – and according to the Rake’s Merseyside moles, it was quite the bash, with artistic contributions from noted social revolutionaries Jake and Dinos Chapman.

For other artists, the Corbyn moment is anything but festive. ‘Jeremy Corbyn makes me angry,’ Cornelia Parker told the Guardian on Saturday. ‘He seems vain. He’s enjoying his moment at the expense of the Labour party, whose future he is wilfully jeopardising. We, the British public, would love to have an opposition.’


Finally, a cautionary tale from this year’s Turner Prize exhibition. When critic Fisun Guner tweeted a picture of nominee Anthea Hamilton’s sculptural rendering of a giant pair of male buttocks last week, Twitter took only minutes to delete the image.

Following the furore around Facebook’s bewildering acts of of censorship, can we assume that the visual arts are just too hot for social media?

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