Culture Notes: New Rakes' Progresses

By Prendergast, Lara | The Spectator, June 28, 2014 | Go to article overview

Culture Notes: New Rakes' Progresses


Prendergast, Lara, The Spectator


Hogarth's ARake's Progress has been a rich resource for artists. Film-makers recognise his modern moral subjects as an ancestor to the storyboard. But in this age of mass media can the format still hold its own and tell us something about ourselves? A new exhibition at the Foundling Museum (until 7 September) suggests so.

The show is titled Progress -- but don't come expecting happy endings. Only Yinka Shonibare gives us a relatively light ending, in that the protagonist does not end up mad, bad or lying in a drain. His photographic series, Diary of a Victorian Dandy, refuses to moralise and instead toys theatrically with race, colonialism and aristocracy.

David Hockney's rake, intoxicated by freedom and money, wastes away in 1960s New York, against a backdrop of Kennedy, bottle-blonde women and transistor radios. …

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