Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Just weeks after conservationists kicked up a stink about Boris Johnson approving a property development in the historic east London neighbourhood of Norton Folgate, another planning row has erupted round the road in Spitalfields. And which outspoken eccentric is taking the flack this time? Step forward Tracey Emin.
The Rake hears that the local Tower Hamlets council is likely to refuse Tracey planning permission for a five-floor house attached to her studio. The plans, alas, require tearing down a listed building on Bell Lane, and despite starchitect David Chipperfield’s involvement with the proposal, a council report acknowledges objections, including from the Spitalfields Community Group, that ‘the new build would be of little or no architectural merit’.
No such sensation for Tracey’s YBA pal Damien Hirst, though. Back in October, he was granted planning permission for a giant basement extension under his £40 million Regent’s Park home. As if his Newport Street Gallery in south London wasn’t enough, the plan involves creating a 150ft-long gallery for his extensive art collection.
But even this, it appears, wasn’t enough to sate Damo’s burrowing fixation. According to Purcell, the firm behind the proposal, he has since requested additional facilities such as, erm, a swimming pool, a steam room and sauna, and a yoga room with glazed walls. What implications this will have for insuring his art collection, Rakewell can but speculate. But when the project is complete, for the first time in years Hirst will find himself within spitting distance of underground art.