A lockdown portrait, a trip to the seaside and America's bad dream – the week in art


Exhibition of the week

Gillian Wearing
A stunningly intelligent and sensitive lockdown project in which the celebrated video artist set out to paint her self-portrait.
Maureen Paley, London, until 25 October.

Also showing

Episode 5: Sophie Barber
Funny, mysterious images are smattered in squeezes of rich colour. There is a seaside feel to Barber’s paintings, reflecting her life on the Sussex coast. Birds and camping feature, as well as art history guests.
Goldsmiths CCA, London, until 25 October.

Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery
Why did ancient Britons throw swords and armour in rivers or bury them? Between 900BC and 800BC, hundreds of weapons were buried in what is now east London. This exhibition digs into the meaning of a sensational find.
Museum of London Docklands until 18 April.

Image of the week

The American Dream by Grayson Perry.
The American Dream by Grayson Perry. Photograph: Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Be it on God, guns or Greta, social media offers neat solutions for our messy feelings. Grayson Perry writes about how this map of the US reflects a battle-torn landscape where nuance, compromise and empathy are casualties in the culture war. “I love maps. They have an air of authority, they show us where to go,” writes Perry. “This map toys with the common delusion that there is a clear and certain route out of our mess of feelings.” Read the story.

What we learned

Frank Gehry declares an end to the age of bombastic “great man” monuments

Meyne Wyatt becomes the first Indigenous artist to win an award in the 99 years of Australia’s Archibald prize …

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… while the overall winner, who takes home $100,000, will be announced on 25 September

Lockdown ushers in a golden age of the balcony

A slavery tour of London lays bare the atrocities of the past

Artists are making tech simulations of life’s squishy stuff for the Covid-19 era

UK care home residents’ lockdown art offer visions of hope

Gillian Wearing’s lockdown self-portraits peel back the mask and show the truth

The Festival of Brexit is trying to unite Britain – artists have ideas how

How to take great pictures – according to six acclaimed photographers

Designer Terence Conran, who transformed British taste, as died

and Observer critic Rowan Moore wrote about how Conran restyled Britain

Modernist Edinburgh has never looked as good as on these embroidered postcards

Elizabeth Price’s new exhibition baffles – and enthrals

Olfaur Eliasson is talking nazism and Brexit – and his new Berlin show

Artist Wendy Ewald gave Appalachian kids $10 cameras – and told them to shoot their dreams

Danh Vō combines ancient sculptures with plants and human limbs in troubling art for the apocalypse

Joseph Cultice walked us through his shot of Marilyn Manson with prosthetic breasts

Mohamed Bourouissa has won the £30,000 Deutsche Börse photography prize

There is a race to protect ‘sublime mural’ in an Oldham church by artist who fled the Nazis

Cecily Brown brought her apocalyptic vision of England to Blenheim

Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg’s 20-year project digs into a forgotten part of LA

Blowing up a Transit van wiped out £1m of debt

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More than 300 artists sign letter in support of striking Tate workers

A £9.3m “Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer” outside Birmingham gets the go-ahead

A dazzling makeover of 90-year-old Spanish lighthouse divides opinion

South African photographer Jürgen Schadeberg has died aged 89

Young love trumps dreams of stardom in rural Argentina

Valuable art by Damien Hirst and other YBAs that vanished from Soho Club haven’t been seen in 10 years

Masterpiece of the week

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, The Italian Woman
Photograph: The History Collection/Alamy

Italian Woman c.1870, by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Dark deep-set eyes and a private expression turn away from us under a pink headdress. Bright blue and lemon yellow add to the exotic colours caught in a strong light. But this is not an observation of someone on the streets of Naples or Rome. Corot painted it in his studio, long after first visiting Italy, and she is a model he paid to put on Italian clothes from his collection. Perhaps he is trying to recapture a youthful memory, to dress her like a love object seen long ago. That would account for the sharp shadows of melancholy and introspection that cut into this mysterious portrait left to the National Gallery by its previous owner, Lucian Freud.
National Gallery, London

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