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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

27 September 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.

Is Tintin a girl? That was the question posed by French philosopher Vincent Cespedes on Facebook last weekend. Apparently, Hergé always believed that his most enduring character ‘was always a young woman’, and that he (or indeed she) was ‘an androgyne with blue eyes and realistically asexual’. Cespedes cites tomes including The Black Island (the Scottish adventure in which Tintin is the only significant character to wear a kilt) and The Castafiore Emerald (on the cover of which Tintin is depicted shushing the reader – an ‘explicit reference to the “family jewels”’, apparently). Only by scrolling down to the bottom of the page will the eagle-eyed reader discover a notice describing the post as ‘fake news’…


‘The beds might not quite command the £2.5 million price achieved at auction for Tracey Emin’s masterpiece,’ reads a statement from easyJet subsidiary easyHotels, ‘but this week easyHotel is giving emerging artists the opportunity to gain inspiration from a stay in its Old Street hotel and turn their rooms into works of art.’ Four artists are to occupy said hostelry, using ‘the walls as canvases for their ideas.’ The communiqué goes on to remind us that artists have long, erm, stayed in hotels, citing Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel – which hosted the likes of Mapplethorpe, De Kooning and Warhol ­– as a forebear for its initiative. If only Leonard Cohen were around today…


The National Portrait Gallery has announced that it is to stage an exhibition devoted to late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and his influence on contemporary artists – among them Isa Genzken, Isaac Julien and Andy Warhol. The Rake suspects that his favourite MJ-related work of art – the likeness of the singer, commissioned by Mohammed Al-Fayed, which stood outside Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage ground from 2011 until 2013 – will sadly not be making an appearance…


And finally, writer and broadcaster Matthew Sweet has conclusively proved that far-right trolls really should consult Pevsner more often…

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