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 wishes an early happy birthday to Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this October. Recalling the opening ceremony, one veteran art critic who attended the 1997 jamboree remembers a strange encounter at his hotel on the morning of the inaugural press conference. Waking up in good time, he wandered down to breakfast in the hotel bar. Finding himself alone but for a man writing away on a notepad at a table by the window, he attempted to fix himself a cup of coffee from the establishment’s formidably complicated espresso machine. Following several unsuccessful attempts, the man by the window got up in frustration and, with one deft movement, cranked the machine into action. Our critic nodded his thanks and thought nothing further of it.
Breakfast finished, he took his seat in the Guggenheim’s auditorium. The museum’s director announced that the star turn of the press conference would be the first to speak, and welcomed architect Frank Gehry to the stage. The critic, who had been drifting off, suddenly did a double take. The starchitect striding onto the stage to deafening applause was the selfsame Samaritan who had grudgingly fixed him a coffee earlier.
Anyone who believes the old cliché that art and design writers tend to be pale types sweating away over (non-vintage) typewriters in their garrets needs to get with the times. The architecture critic has been named as ‘London’s Hottest Single Man’ by dating app Happn.
In a piece for the Guardian, Wainwright admits to being less foxy, than foxed by the accolade. Still, he gives some useful advice for lonely souls contemplating the use of a dating app. ‘There’s the eternal dilemma of where to go’, he writes. ‘I invited one woman to see the Turner prize, but she didn’t turn up, so I was left to contemplate Anthea Hamilton’s big golden bum on my own.’
Donald Trump’s Presidential inauguration on Friday moved the art world to some strong responses, not least from Rakewell’s old mucker Shia LaBoeuf. The self-styled metamodernist’s new performance piece invites members of the public to repeat the phrase ‘he will not divide us’ into a camera mounted outside New York’s Museum of the Moving Image. The project will be ‘open to all, 24 hours a day, seven days a week’ and will be ‘live-streamed continuously for four years, or the duration of the presidency’. Is that a promise or a threat?