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The Met’s new logo and a truly pretentious party

21 February 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.

Oh dear. The Metropolitan Museum’s new logo has not, erm, ‘met’ expectations. The design features the words ‘THE MET’ typed in elegant scarlet letters against a white background. So far, so anodyne. Yet responses to the design have been cold at best, with Vulture’s Justin Davidson going so far as to liken it to ‘a red double-decker bus that has stopped short, shoving the passengers into each other’s backs’.

Davidson’s main points of contention are that the new look logo gives far too much prominence to the definite article, and that it might well lead to confusion with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Since the article was published, design nerds across the world have taken to Twitter to vent their outrage. The hatred seems to be directed at British design firm Wolff Olins, which also designed the branding for the Tate and the (admittedly ghastly) logo for the 2012 London Olympics. If the Rake is to take a lesson from this, it’s that Brits meddling with the design behind the Big Apple’s favourite museum should tread carefully. David Chipperfield, you have been warned.


To Soho to see Frieze co-editor Dan Fox talk about his new book Pretentiousness: Why it Matters. ‘Pretention is about over-reaching what you’re capable of,’ Fox writes approvingly, and in this respect, the launch at the Claire de Rouen bookshop on the Charing Cross Road can be seen as a thundering success: indeed, the shop was packed so far beyond its modest capacity that even the author himself got stuck. ‘How the hell can we get out of this log jam?’ Rakewell overheard him ask a friend. Meanwhile, a venerable Sunday newspaper columnist was seen snaking through the crowd, asking bemused guests the question: ‘Are you Dan Fox? I simply must congratulate him.’


Finally, it seems as though the self-appointed Leonardo of our times is struggling to find modern-day Medicis. On Twitter earlier this week, Kanye West publicly asked Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg for his patronage. ‘Mark Zuckerberg invest 1 billion dollars into Kanye West ideas’, he pleaded, ‘…after realizing he is the greatest living artist and greatest artist of all time.’

Alas, Zuckerberg appears to have quietly turned him down. If even Kanye West (an artist ‘50% more influential’ than Picasso, pace Kanye West) struggles with his fundraising, what hope is there for the rest of us?

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