Apollo Magazine

The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

Maria Balshaw's matching socks – and the rest of the week's art world tittle-tattle

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

The Holy See has given its blessing to contemporary art. Well, sort of. In a forthcoming documentary, Pope Francis: My Idea of Art, the Pope allows a film crew into the Vatican Museums where, as Artnet reports, he points out works that ‘stand in contrast with what he sees as our current culture of exclusion and waste’. These include works by Caravaggio and Michelangelo, as well as a Renault hatchback (Roland Barthes would surely have approved) and sculptures created from scrap materials by Argentinian artist Alejandro Marmo. A man of Catholic tastes…


Lunching with the FT, new Tate director Maria Balshaw has revealed that she received some interesting letters of congratulation when her appointment was announced. ‘I went to an unprepossessing comprehensive in Northamptonshire,’ she said. ‘One of my first letters of congratulation was from Mr Cartwright the drama teacher, who wrote, “I’m so proud of you – and I remember that your socks always matched!”’.


A Freedom of Information Request by the Observer has shed fascinating light into the artistic passions of Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox – AKA the ‘Three Brexiteers’.

The newspaper revealed that Fox’s Department for International Trade has selected 61 works from the Government Art Collection for display, including depictions of the 1851 Great Exhibition and, rather more controversially, a lithograph of the British imperialist Cecil Rhodes.

Similarly surprising are the works requested by Davis’s Department for Exiting the European Union, which include maritime paintings by John Tunnard and William Marlow. The department has also chosen to display David Jones’s series of engravings of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Sample line? ‘The ship went down like lead’…


In other government news, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has had a rebrand. DCMS has added ‘Digital’ to its title to reflect the growing importance of the sector. However, as the Guardian’s Alex Hern points out, the change of moniker is somewhat perplexing:

Happily, Twitter users have been on hand to suggest alternatives:


Finally, Sophie Calle’s new exhibition at SFMOMA has provoked some passionate responses, not least from the artist herself….

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

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