Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories. Follow @Rakewelltweets.
Forget prints, postcards and Tate branded stationery: art merchandise is all about action these days, and Rakewell for one could not be more pleased.
News reaches him that a Japanese toy company is offering scale action figures of Michelangelo’s David, Rodin’s The Thinker and the Venus de Milo; they can bend, threaten, fight and flex; you can even rouse The Thinker from his contemplative position and, as photos demonstrate, ease him into a sexy pose. Very cerebral.
According to Hyperallergic, the models will be shipped from May 2016, and come in both plaster and bronze to lend your art-historical diorama that all important two-tone finish. Priced at around $40, they will be a steal for collectors but no threat to Action Man’s target audience.
Sadly, Venus and The Thinker are no longer available (which itself raises the worrying thought that people are actually buying this stuff), but David faces stiff competition from a Vincent Van Gogh toy going on Amazon for a more reasonable $16.99. The Vincent figure boasts accessories in the form of an easel and an art box containing miniature brushes, as well as what appears to be a high level of customer satisfaction: ‘It’s awesome!!!!!!’, exclaims one online reviewer, ‘so much better than the game of thrones’ figures’ (sic.).
Closer to home and indeed to topicality is an Ai Weiwei figurine retailing at the Royal Academy shop, a steal at just £6.00. As an edgy diorama for your mini-Ai, dust off your old Lego and follow the Danish toymaker’s instructions for a replica Forbidden City: put it on Instagram and, presto! You can legitimately describe yourself as a ‘political artist’.
On second thoughts, the Rake might just spend his money on a nice postcard.