Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Say what you like about street art guru Steve Lazarides, but nobody could call him a failure. Just don’t get him started on the competition: ‘Places like Cork Street have been dying on their ass for years,’ he told The Independent’s Susie Mesure when plans to move his eponymous gallery from Fitzrovia to Mayfair were mooted. He’s still cross that the Tate neglected to add works by his artists to its permanent collection after several pieces were exhibited on the outside walls of the museum’s Bankside branch in 2008: ‘They refused to take them. What, their art’s not good enough to come in? […] It’s because they didn’t discover it.’ And as for art fairs? ‘I hate Frieze. It’s a tent. In a park. That sells art. Not a cultural phenomenon.’ Lazarides’s own ‘cultural phenomenon’, by his own admission, exists ‘to annoy the art world. Mainly to annoy the art world.’
Much excitement at the news that Elton John’s collection of photography is to go on show at Tate Modern. However, as he told the Daily Mirror, his art collection is no longer the apple of his eye: ‘Having children changed everything about my life. I’ve learned that the simplest things in life – like having a minute with them – are worth more than any painting, any photograph, any house or any hit record.’ They’re not getting much from him, though: ‘If they want a Picasso, they have to go out and earn it. I think there’s real sensibility in that.’ Fair enough. Indeed, judging by what the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis saw when he visited John’s Holland Park home earlier this year, there may be works in the collection that they may prefer not to covet. Confronted by Liza Lou’s work The Seer, Petridis described it as a ‘life-sized, bright yellow, glass-bead-covered sculpture of a naked man with his head between his legs, who at first glance seems to be gamely attempting to urinate in his own mouth. No such luck: on closer examination, it turns out his penis is actually a knife and he is trying to stab himself in the throat.’
Rakewell is not one to wallow, but news that Zagreb’s Museum of Broken Relationships is to open a new branch in Los Angeles has certainly got him down in the, er, dumps. The museum, which was started in 2010, is an attempt to put the world’s ephemera of heartbreak on display. Anyone who has ever been suddenly out of love is invited to submit a significant item of the split to its collection, along with the anonymously labelled story behind it. Notable exhibits in the museum’s original incarnation in Croatia include the usual stuff – wedding dresses, mobile phones, kitchen implements – along with a selection of goods that rather prompts the phrase ‘Too Much Information’: a pair of handcuffs, pants, an axe used ‘for therapy’ after what the Rake imagines was a particularly messy breakup. ‘As a rule, we tend to accept all donations’, says the FAQ section on the museum’s website. God help whichever poor soul is responsible for its mail department.