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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

27 March 2018

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

Henry Moore is remembered for his serene modernist sculptures, but if a new biography of John Rothenstein, former director of the Tate, is to be believed, his professional conduct could be rather less than graceful. According to the author Adrian Clark, Rothenstein’s diaries record a meeting in 1945 at which the Tate’s board was considering whether to purchase a work by Barbara Hepworth. Moore, at the time an artist-trustee, rubbished the idea, declaring that ‘if sculpture [was] nothing more than that, it would be a poor affair’. The board ultimately rejected the Hepworth, instead acquiring no less than seven sculptures that year by, erm, Henry Moore…


Mark Zuckerberg has had a troubling few weeks, to say the least. But if the embattled Facebook boss thought he’d seen the worst of it, he was very much mistaken. Last week, it emerged that Zuckerberg is the subject of a new painting by funnyman-turned-artist Jim Carrey, depicting the social media tycoon alongside a thumbs-down emoji similar to Facebook’s ‘like’ symbol. To add insult to injury, the Ace Ventura star also called for Facebook to be reigned in, sharing the image on Twitter with the hashtag ‘#regulatefacebook’. As the pet detective might say, but Zuckerberg probably won’t: ‘Alrighty then!’


Interviewed by Frieze ahead of her commission in the Tate’s Duveen Galleries, Anthea Hamilton admitted to some less than orthodox influences. ‘What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?’, the magazine asked. ‘Rather than art, I think it was something I saw on TV,’ Hamilton replied. ‘A ballet – or maybe a pantomime – screened on BBC2 […] I had a crush on one of the performers dressed as a peppermill. As a five-year-old watching him on TV, I knew it would never work out.’


Surprised as you may be to learn that he ever went away, Damien Hirst is back, this time with an exhibition at Houghton Hall in Norfolk. Speaking to the BBC in advance of the show, Hirst admitted that not everyone was clamouring to acquire his work. When his son turned 10, he revealed, he gave him one of his signature ‘Spot’ paintings to hang in his room. ‘I said: “You can have anything you want from our art collection”,’ Hirst remembers. ‘“Can I not have the Spot Painting? Can I have a Banksy?”’, came the response.


Finally, Grayson Perry does seem to turn up in the strangest of places these days…

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