Exhibition of the week
Painting, conceptual critiques and robust satire influenced by Hogarth all help make Himid one of the crucial artists of our time.
Tate Modern, London, 25 November to 3 July.
The surreal commentator on modern life invites you to bring your old tennis balls to swap for new ones in an installation he claims is a celebration of trade – but there’s bound to be a darker side.
Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, until 8 January.
Survey of this radical artist that sets her abstract canvases alongside more polemical interventions, including her 1980 video Free White and 21.
Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, until 2 May.
The timeless genius of Dürer’s prints is undimmed by this slightly meandering trawl through his travels.
National Gallery, London, from 20 November to February.
Fabergé in London
A trip to the gilded Edwardian age when wealthy Brits fell in love with Russian luxury.
V&A, London, from 20 November to 8 May.
Image of the week
An assistant at Sotherby’s displays Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait Diego y yo (Diego and Me, 1949), which went under the hammer on Tuesday and sold for $34.9m (£25m). This made it the most expensive Latin American work of art ever sold at auction – ironically beating the record previously held by Kahlo’s adulterous husband Diego Rivera, whose likeness occupies the position of Kahlo’s third eye in the painting. Read the full story here.
What we learned
Masterpiece of the week
Parade Shield (northern Europe c 1470)
You can’t get a more perfect embodiment of late medieval chivalry than this painted shield in the style of the Bruges artist Hans Memling. A knight in full armour bends his legs down to pledge himself to his lady, vowing according to the shield’s French inscription: vous ou mort – “You or Death.” She gravely accepts his proffered love, standing over him in a long dress and a pointed hat called a hennin. They are enacting courtly love, the medieval ritual in which it was hard to tell fake passion from the real thing. Yet the game is given terrible intensity by the actual presence of Death. Taking the form of a skeleton, the reaper stands behind the knight, ready to snatch him at a moment’s notice should he fail to fulfil his vow. By mentioning Death, he has invited it.
British Museum, London
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