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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

11 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.

To Belgrade, where a memorial to the great cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin has elicited a less than starry reception – and indeed been dismantled. The monument – which featured a bust of the first man in space atop a tall plinth – was ridiculed by Serbian media outlets for its seemingly ludicrous proportions. Its plinth was so large that, from street level, it was all but impossible to catch sight of Gagarin’s rather more modest likeness. ‘The only way you can see it clearly is to launch yourself into the sky,’ commented one website.


In an interview with The Times last week, Richard Rogers recalled some of the more negative responses to his design for the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Standing outside the building shortly after its completion, he was approached by a ‘nice lady’ who noticed him gazing up at his masterpiece. ‘She asked me what I thought of it and I stupidly said that I had built it,’ he told Jonathan Morrison. ‘So she hit me over the head with her umbrella’.


Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, art critic John McDonald delivered a critique of Art Basel Hong Kong that was more than a little direct. McDonald slammed the ‘cartoonish’ paintings of Yoshitomo Nara – who in turn was likened to Albrecht Dürer in comparison to New-York pop artist KAWS (‘an artist for people who know nothing about art’). Wolfgang Tillmans, meanwhile, was described as ‘arguably the most over-hyped artist in the world’. Ouch.


Eric Dier, the Tottenham Hotspur and England football player, doesn’t fit the sporting stereotype, The Times revealed last weekend. When off the pitch, the Spurs defender likes nothing more than a trip to an art opening. ‘Going to galleries and exhibitions is a terrific way to switch off,’ he told Matthew Syed. Dier has reportedly acquired a painting by Erik Lindman, and also confesses to being a fan of Andreas Gursky and John Pawson. His favourite artist? ‘Rothko […] I love his work.’


Aguttes auction house is gearing up to sell a monster lot. On 4 June, the saleroom in Paris will offer up the skeleton of a newly discovered species of carnivorous dinosaur, with an estimate of €1.2–€1.8m. The added bonus: the winning bidder will have the opportunity to name the species as they please. Dino McDinoface, anyone?


Then again, perhaps dinosaur remains are a wise investment. At Russell Crowe’s ‘The Art of Divorce’ sale at Sotheby’s Australia last weekend, the actor managed to flog a dinosaur skull that he had originally acquired from Leonardo DiCaprio for AU$79,300. The sale, staged to finance Crowe’s divorce settlement, netted AU$3.7m – ‘not a bad hourly rate for a 5 hour shift,’ as he tweeted.

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

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