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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

13 December 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.

‘I want to see what this stuff is about. You know what I’m saying? And maybe I’ll buy me something that’s going to make me some money’, hip hop star Cardi B told WWD as she arrived at Art Basel Miami Beach for the first time last week. She seemed keen to make an acquisition, but had taken the precaution of setting some ground rules. ‘You got to debate whether it’s something that talks to you or makes you money […] and I’ll buy it because it’s talking,’ she revealed. ‘But I don’t know what the hell it’s talking to me about.’


In other Art Basel news, Leonardo DiCaprio was reportedly spotted ‘haggling’ over the price of a Basquiat drawing at Van de Weghe’s booth last Wednesday. ‘It seemed like they had a plan beforehand’, a witness told the New York Post. ‘They brought the work into a private room with Leo, the advisor, and slowly the hat-clad entourage also poured in. Two blonde models who looked very much Leo’s type came and talked to his posse for a bit’. Perhaps the actor, who is preparing for a turn as Leonardo Da Vinci, was just doing some research?


Ai Weiwei is no fan of obstacles to movement, having campaigned tirelessly on behalf of refugees and even described the Great Wall of China as ‘ridiculous’. But there’s one barrier he hasn’t been able to find his way around – and it’s of the linguistic sort. ‘I am not strong enough mentally to learn German,’ Ai, who is now based in Berlin, told The Times last weekend. ‘I’ve been here two years and I don’t speak a word of it. It’s embarrassing. Some castles you can easily attack. But German is a very solid castle.’


Last week, Rakewell caught up with Royal Academy artistic director Tim Marlow, who is getting ready to move into a brand new office in the RA’s revamped headquarters. But things could so easily have turned out differently: ‘Someone once asked me what I thought I’d be doing in 30 years,’ he revealed. ‘And I think I said, rather flippantly: “Well, I’ll either be running the Tate or I’ll be living in a surf shack under a cliff somewhere”.’

‘Neither of those are true,’ he added. ‘I won’t be working for the Tate, and my back’s knackered. I was a crap surfer.’


And finally, Daily Mail columnist Peter Hitchens has outed himself as the pithiest art critic on the internet…

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