A rebel sharpens her pencil and Hirst spreads his wings – the week in art

Exhibition of the week

The Art of Innovation
Science has been inspiring art ever since Leonardo da Vinci tried to fly, and this exhibition surveys their interconnection from the Enlightenment to the age of the Hubble Telescope.
Science Museum, London, 25 September to 26 January

Also showing

Es Devlin
The celebrated theatre and opera designer creates an epic installation about the nature of memory in the country house of architect Sir John Soane.
Pitzhanger Manor, London, 26 September to 12 January

Damien Hirst
This is Hirst’s best exhibition in Britain for a long time – a concentrated and disciplined array of astounding butterfly art.
White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, 20 September to 2 November

Mark Leckey
A Merseyside motorway bridge and memories of childhood feature in the Turner winner’s latest fusion of art and pop.
Tate Britain, London, 24 September to 5 January

Anna Maria Maiolino: Making Love Revolutionary
Sensual drawings and organic objects from a lifetime rebel against authoritarian regimes.
Whitechapel Gallery, London, 25 September to 12 January

Masterpiece of the week


Photograph: JMW Turner/The National Gallery, London

Rain, Steam and Speed: The Great Western Railway, 1844, by JMW Turner

One of the first locomotives in the Romantic age was called the Rocket, and that sense of speeding in a train being like flying in space is made vertiginously real in this painting of a black engine pulling passengers through a swirling void of misty light. The train is crossing a bridge over the Thames at Maidenhead while people watch from the riverbank below, but it might be soaring to the stars as it pushes the limit of human speed. When Turner was born, in 1775, it took several days to cross the country. This painting registers his awe at the new age he has lived to see, when human beings can attain dizzying speeds of 30 miles an hour.
National Gallery, London

Image of the week


Photograph: Pete Seaward

A hole in the Blenheim Palace floor where Maurizio Cattelan’s £5m solid-gold toilet stood before it was stolen in the early hours of Saturday. The art whizz and serial prankster panned claims he orchestrated the theft himself. “Who’s so stupid to steal a toilet?” he said. “I want to be positive and think the robbery is a kind of Robin Hood-inspired action.” Read the full story.

What we learned

A ‘conceptually bankrupt’ artist is making waves in Brooklyn

Just 2% of art auction spending is on work by women

Da Vinci and Raphael have brokered peace between Italy and France

A conveyor belt ‘skin’ sculpture opened at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Damien Hirst found ecstasy in real butterfly wings

A ‘giant dildo’ sculpture was removed from Byron Bay

Augmented reality ice slabs appeared in a London park for Frieze

Galway will be ‘Barcelona with rain’ as European capital of culture

Fairfield Halls, Croydon, came back from panto hell

We picked the 25 best visual art works of the 21st century

… and Ragnar Kjartansson was particularly pleased

We also picked the best buildings

… and Jacques Herzog told us more

The police have nothing to go on after Cattelan’s golden toilet was stolen

Antony Gormley wows the crowds at the Royal Academy

… and he talked to us about his approach to sculpture

‘Art insider’ is a fashion-forward look

… while photographer Tim Walker takes an ‘extreme’ interest in beauty

John Squire is modest about his abilities

New sculptures welcome visitors to New York’s Met

Istanbul Biennial is targeting waste and greed

Mark Leckey talked about his Tate Britain show

Paris recalls how Francis Bacon made a sensational debut

The Great Depression is in focus again

We revealed another twist in the tale of Nazis and art

Chicago Architecture biennial has a social foundation

Paul Cupido captures small moments of wonder

Shipwrecked mariners have a favourite sea view

We remembered Mexican artist Francisco Toledo

Don’t forget

To follow us on Twitter: @GdnArtandDesign.

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