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Rakewell

The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

3 April 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.

It will perhaps come as no surprise to learn that the Francis Bacon could be scathing about his fellow painters. As a series of recordings released by his neighbour Barry Joule reveals, Bacon dismissed Jasper Johns’ False Start (1959) as ‘nothing […] just a series of a number of diagonal scratches going in different directions in red and blue’. Andy Warhol, whose work Bacon had viewed at the Royal Academy’s Pop art exhibition in 1991, fared no better. ‘These pictures are bad,’ he pronounced. ‘The Andy Warhols are very bad.’

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It’s only April, but already we have a contender for the strangest memorabilia sale of 2018. Guernsey’s auction house has announced that it is to sell 55 doors taken from New York’s legendary Chelsea Hotel, which has been undergoing a major refurbishment. According to the auction house’s website, said portals once opened on to rooms occupied by the likes of Warhol, Humphrey Bogart, and Jackson Pollock. Fittingly, Jim Morrison is also cited – though the Rake suspects these weren’t the kind of doors he had in mind when he named the band…

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A slanging match has broken out between Chicago and Houston and, for once, the point of pride has nothing to do with sports teams. Last week in Houston, Cloud Column, a huge, bean-shaped sculpture by Anish Kapoor was unveiled – and Chicagoans were swift to decry it as inferior to Cloud Burst, the artist’s pulse-shaped public sculpture in their own city. In the Chicago Tribune, Kim Janssen mocked Houston’s copycat commissioning and the city’s ‘cultureless abyss’, while Lisa Gray hit back in the Houston Chronicle by asking why Chicago felt so ‘defensive’ about its Kapoor. Janssen had the last word: ‘Enjoy your bean, which is not as good as our bean, and never will be.’

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

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