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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

1 March 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.

Dame Zaha Hadid’s appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs had the Rake captivated. Britain’s most outspoken architect divulged that, at the age of nine, she designed her own bedroom (’it was kind of modernist, wooden…I was quite fussy, so my mother said, listen, you do it’), that she knew ‘every move Richard Gere made’ in the film American Gigolo and that she used to sing ‘non-professionally’. She also spoke about her relationship to the establishment: ‘You still feel outside?’, presenter Kirsty Young asked her. ‘No I’m not outside…I’m on the kind of edge. I’m dangling there,’ replied Zaha. ‘That doesn’t sound like a comfortable position…’ As for her choice of music? Selections took included Bryan Ferry’s ‘These Foolish Things’, Harry Nilsson’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin’’ and, of course, Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’. Make of that what you will.


In an interview with the Daily Beast this week, painter Jonathan Yeo gave some fascinating insights into the artistic tastes of some of his famous sitters. Apparently, Prince Philip is ‘into post-impressionist painters, not chocolate-box impressionism’. However, he’s no fan of Lucian Freud: ‘I just think he makes everyone look like they’re made of cheese,’ Yeo quoted the prince as saying.


Rakewell has a new favourite Instagram account. The mysterious art-world insider behind @privateviewshoes keeps an up to the minute record of London’s hottest openings, focusing not on the art but the footwear of the great and the good who attend. For those who value the important things in life, it’s a must-follow.


Socialist design fans rejoice! This week saw the UK Labour party launch a new range of Corbynista merchandise, including pint glasses, fridge magnets and a fetching red T-shirt branded with the phrase: ‘Jeremy Corbyn – Straight Talking, Honest Politics’. Who could resist?

Meanwhile across the pond, the bearded one’s political soulmate Bernie Sanders has been subject to similar treatment at the hands of Seattle-based artist Michael Leavitt. Leavitt has designed ‘join-the-action figure’ based on the Democrat senator’s likeness. The doll, which has its own promotional video with a catchy jingle, is yours for just $20.


Last but by no means least, NASA wants to send art into space. Yes, the people who put man on the moon are asking the public to send in artworks on the theme of exploration, which will eventually be sent up in a probe destined for the asteroid Bennu. Quite why is a mystery, but Rakewell is all for it. Might we nominate Shia LaBeouf’s ‘performance art’ for inclusion?

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