Apollo Magazine

The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

Salvador Dalí's moustache, Madonna's hairbrush, and the rest of this week's arty tittle-tattle

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

Nearly 30 years after he was laid to rest, Salvador Dalí has maintained the element of surprise. When the artist’s remains were exhumed in Figueres, Spain, last week, the forensic experts carrying out the job were astonished to find that his trademark moustache had survived the ravages of time. ‘His moustache is intact, showing the ten-past-ten position as he wanted’, said Narcís Bardalet, who embalmed Dalí’s body in 1989 and who aided the dig. ‘It is a miracle. His body is like a mummy, like wood.’


In New York, an auction of Madonna memorabilia has been halted after the singer objected to the sale of specific objects. Among these was a hairbrush, which the singer fears may carry traces of her DNA. ‘I understand that my DNA could be extracted from a piece of my hair. It is outrageous and grossly offensive that my DNA could be auctioned for sale to the general public’, she said. Some journalists have speculated that any such traces could have been used to clone the pop star. But do we really need two Madonnas?


The Guardian has spoken to staff at bookshops across Britain to get a picture of the country’s most shoplifted titles. The list makes for surprisingly intellectual reading – which is bad news for publishers of art books. The London Review Bookshop cites Jean Baudrillard as its most nicked author, while Daunt Books founder James Daunt says that thieves regularly target pricey art books, subsequently flogging them on eBay. Second-hand bookseller Chris Edwards recalls one individual who tried to sell on art books he had filched to fund his cocaine addiction. ‘His photo was in every bookshop in London for a while’.


Rediscovery of the week: shock rocker Alice Cooper has found a print of Andy Warhol’s Little Electric Chairrolled up in a tube’ in a storage locker. Apparently, the ‘School’s Out’ singer acquired the work from his friend Warhol back in 1972, before promptly forgetting all about it. ‘Alice says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture’, his manager, Shep Gordon. ‘He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was.’


At long last, America is getting its first art exhibition for dogs. Yes, that’s right: ‘Not of or by dogs, but for dogs. 78 million American canines hungry for culture’, says a press release for the show. ‘With the change of a single letter, dOGUMENTA implicates dOCUMENTA, contemporary art’s most prestigious exhibition, while inviting a new breed of culture hound to the table’. In a word, woof.

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