Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Seeing as circumstances have prevented Ai Weiwei from getting out much over the past few years, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the artist has been taking advantage of his trip to London.
Since Ai arrived in Rakewell’s home town last week for his forthcoming Royal Academy show, barely a moment has passed that hasn’t resulted in a new Instagram post. From the day he arrived, when we were treated to a fetching set of topless selfies, the artist’s camera phone has been working overtime.
It’s been gratifyingly easy to pinpoint Ai’s whereabouts ever since. Here he is looning about with Christiane Amanpour:
Getting close to Charles Saumarez Smith:
Lunching with Alan Yentob:
Giving a rare middle finger to the camera with Anish Kapoor:
Two artists. Three fingers. News: Weiwei and I join hands to walk. We will walk out of London. We will each carry a single blanket. A symbol of the need that faces 60 million refugees in our world today. We welcome those who wish to walk with us. Bring your blanket. We will repeat this action in cities worldwide over the coming months. At 10am on Thursday 17th September we will walk from The Royal Academy of Arts we will walk east out of London. Route details will be announced. #AnishKapoor #Aiweiwei #AnishAndWeiweiWalk @aiww @dirty_corner
And capturing the quizzical gaze of Channel 4 News’s Jon Snow.
In between engagements, he’s also found time to drop by the opening of Parasol Unit’s Belgian art show, and have lunch with Grayson Perry, and grab a cup of tea at Burlington House.
— Grayson Perry (@Alan_Measles) September 14, 2015
Yesterday saw Ai dropping by Tate Modern’s new show, ‘The World Goes Pop’, where he snapped Chris Dercon and Uli Sigg, the former Swiss ambassador to China.
His appearance at the Bankside museum’s exhibition prompted a few Instagram commentators to suspect he was snubbing his own opening – they needn’t have worried. Ai was back at the Royal Academy at 6pm sharp, looking gregarious as ever.
Rakewell can only hope that Ai’s frantic schedule has left him with enough energy for tonight’s talk with Tim Marlow. As he told the Guardian recently, ‘The handshaking and the champagne are not what I’m very good at’. Given the evidence thus far, the Rake can’t help but suspect the artist is being too modest.
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