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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

11 July 2017

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

At long last, Brooklyn Beckham has published What I See, his debut photography book. Alas, the public reaction to the tome has been somewhat less than warm, with bile of various shades directed at the precocious snapper’s blurry images and, erm, laconic captions. (Sample: ‘i like this picture – it’s out of focus but you can tell there’s a lot going on’.)


Poor old Brooklyn. Still, it seems like he’ll have the last laugh. At the end of last week, What I See was riding high at number 8 in one non-fiction bestseller list, with sales of 1,662 copies last week alone. All publicity, as they say…


Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon is not often praised for his aesthetic sensibilities – but don’t imagine the walls of his Washington office have been left barren. As New York Magazine reveals, Bannon has decorated his workplace with an oil painting that shows him kitted out as Napoleon, based on Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of 1812 depicting the emperor in his study at the Tuileries — ‘a gift from Nigel Farage’, apparently.


The shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry has been drawing lessons from the Old Masters. ‘I have a picture that used to belong to my mother – the Allegory of Good and Bad Government, from Siena,’ she told the Guardian. ‘You can change people’s lives by having good government. They understood that in the 14th century in Italy. We are in the 21st century in Britain.’ Could she also have mistaken Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s grey-bearded figure of Wisdom for her dear party leader, Jeremy Corbyn? Surely not!


The artist and curator Matthew Higgs has dug out one of the business cards that Chris Ofili used to hand out in the mid ’90s. With admirable economy, the artist appears to have forgone printing his name in favour of his most notorious material: ‘Elephant Shit’.

Chris Ofili’s ‘business card’ that he used to hand out in the c. mid-1990s! #elephantshit #chrisofili 🐘💩

A post shared by Matthew Higgs (@matthewhiggs2015) on

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

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