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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

24 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.

To Canada, where thugs have repeatedly attacked a statue of the Virgin and Child outside the Saint-Anne-des-Pins Catholic Church in Sudbury, Ontario. In the most recent incidence of vandalism, Jesus’s head was detached and stolen, leaving parishioners to replace it. Alas, the church found it impossible to raise the cash to fashion a replica, and instead accepted the services of local artist Heather Wise. ‘My feelings were hurt when I saw it, because I thought, “Who would do that?”’, she told a local news website. ‘It’s just not a positive feeling to see that. I said “I’m an artist, I would like to fix it.”’

When Wise unveiled the fruits of her labour, however, locals were less than impressed. The new head, an unpainted terracotta creation, sparked outrage from parishioners – and not a little hilarity from social media, where users pointed out Jesus’s striking new likeness to cartoon character Maggie Simpson. ‘It’s a first try. It’s a first go. And hopefully what is done at the end will please everyone,’ the local priest said in Wise’s defence.


Following the news that hip fashion brand Cos has designed a ‘capsule collection’ based on the work of reclusive minimalist Agnes Martin, its parent company H&M Group has upped the stakes by commissioning Alex Katz to add his magic touch to a range of womenswear, menswear, accessories, and homeware. Who said painting was out of fashion?


That’s not all from the rag trade. Rakewell learns that fashion bible W magazine has commissioned those paragons of hipsterdom Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch to create a cover for its annual art issue. Naturally, the artists have chosen to theme their design around celebrity models Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. For the project, Fitch and Trecartin have transformed Hadid and Jenner into ‘super friendly, domesticated humanoid pets’. Nope, us neither…


Intriguing news from the Netherlands, where astrophysicist Vincent Icke has challenged the assumption that the titular bauble in Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring is what it purports to be. Looking at the painting in 2014, Icke concluded that the pendant hanging off the subject’s ear was ‘something different from a pearl […] It is clear that this object must have been a highly reflective shiny object, and not a pearl.’ Perhaps so, but Rakewell does wonder whether Hollywood would have been quite so keen to make a blockbuster about the painting had it been titled The Girl with the Highly Reflective Shiny Object.

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