Diary: Joffe's jokey picture falls flat with Frieze


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The Independent Online

Jasper Joffe claims one of his paintings has been banned from this weekend's Frieze Art Fair. The artist intended to sell the work to raise money for Resonance FM, but was told it had been removed from the charity sale. Joffe, the man behind the Free Art Fair (2007-9, RIP) – a protest at Frieze's perceived commercialism – said: "I presume it is because I was recently in a debate at the Saatchi Gallery with [Frieze director] Matthew Slotover, and he seemed quite upset and angry that I criticised Frieze."

A spokesperson for Frieze insisted: "We do not ban art. Some artworks were lined up by Resonance to promote [their website]. We've asked them not to [display them] as the fair has a strict policy of selection."

Did Joffe consider that another art giant might dislike his painting: its subject, Sir Nicholas Serota? And was the work (featuring a grumpy Serota and the entreaty, "Cheer up, Love") produced after Sir Nicholas's attack on the Coalition's arts cuts? "Nope," says Joffe. "I just thought it was amusing. Serota always has such a miserable face in photos."

* Dame Gail Rebuck, chief executive of Random House, is one of the two most powerful women in London publishing – the other being Victoria Barnsley of HarperCollins. So did Rebuck feel for her rival after HarperCollins' travails with Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Freedom, more than 70,000 copies of which had to be recalled due to printing errors? "Typesetting errors can happen to anybody," Rebuck told me at the National Magazine Company's 100th anniversary party, where she'd been named in a list of the 100 Most Influential Women in Britain (Barnsley didn't make the cut). "It's very unfortunate for Jonathan, but I read somewhere [here?] that people were looking at the original edition as a collector's item, so every cloud has a silver lining." Random House's last major launch, of Tony Blair's memoir, didn't go entirely to plan either, with events cancelled for fear of protests. But, boasts Rebuck, "It's the fastest-selling autobiography since records began. My mother was reading it at a hospital appointment and the nurse told her she was the eighth person that week to be reading it in the waiting room." Every cloud indeed.

* Jonny Yeo is famous for being pals with Jamie Theakston, but he's also the artist responsible for portraits of George W Bush, Sarah Palin and Tiger Woods – all collages made from torn-up pages of pornographic magazines. "I go through so much porn," he told me at the opening of Hell's Half Acre, a show at The Old Vic tunnels curated by Kevin Spacey and Steve Lazarides, in which he's exhibiting. "I have to think about which mags to choose. I need different skin tones. It's no good just buying the mags from the top shelf at the newsagent; the women in them are all the same, airbrushed and orange. It's better to take models from things like Readers' Wives, people that don't really wax so well."

* Back above ground, Tracey Emin mingled with Tatler types at the magazine's Art for Bhopal charity auction at Phillips de Pury & Company. A number of Labourites have had a go at dear Tracey since she admitted to the New Statesman last week that she'd voted Tory. But she seems more concerned about the reaction of her Conservative chums to her drawing for the left-leaning weekly's cover. "All my Tory friends had a go at me," she lamented. "They said, 'You're crossing over to the other side!''' Happily, Ms Emin remains a discerning reader of the non-Tory press. " The Independent's my paper," she told me. "I'd buy The Guardian, too, but they write such fucking horrible things about me." The cads.

* No doubt they write horrible things about another Tory, too: Jacob Rees-Mogg, the honourable member for North-East Somerset, who once canvassed with the help of the nanny, shares use of an exclusive loo at Claridge's with the King of Spain and sprinkles gold leaf on his morning oats (the last one's a joke. The others are definitely [allegedly] true). Rees-Mogg has broken ranks by saying his party and the Lib Dems ought to run as a coalition at the next election. It would make "no sense to oppose people who have been members of that government and have made a big contribution to it," suggested the (very) well-spoken MP. Wouldn't be all bad for his majority either.