arts and design

Lightning bolts, smart toilets and radical pottery – the week in art

Exhibition of the week

Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything
A unique cache of drawings by one of the world’s best-loved artists offers a closer look at the genius who created the Great Wave.
British Museum, London, from 30 September

Also showing

Turner Prize
Cooking Sections, Gentle/Radical, Black Obsidian Sound System, Array Collective and Project Art Work are the nominees for this year’s all-collective Turner.
Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, 29 September to 12 January

A mammoth survey of the great Japanese American modernist sculptor.
The Barbican, London, 30 September to 9 January

Gold of the Great Steppe
An entrancing encounter with the nomadic peoples of east Kazakhstan around 2,700 years ago.
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, from 28 September to 30 January

Theaster Gates
Art and ideas are flung together on the potter’s wheel by the radical Chicago artist in this exhibition about the uses of clay.
Whitechapel Gallery, London, 29 September to 9 January

Image of the week

Michael Craig-Martin, Untitled (mask 2), 2020, Acrylic on aluminium. © Michael Craig-Martin. Photo: Lucy Dawkins. Courtesy of the artist, Gagosian and Reflex Amsterdam
Photograph: Lucy Dawkins/Michael Craig-Martin, courtesy of the artist, Gagosian and Reflex Amsterdam

Untitled (mask 2), 2020, by Michael Craig-Martin
Artist Michael Craig-Martin’s ongoing project to paint everyday objects in minimal style has embraced the ephemera of the pandemic, as revealed in his latest exhibition.

What we learned

The Jameel prize shortlist find subversive possibilities in Islamic art

Betye Saar reversed and radicalised racist stereotypes

… and black UK artists have been energised by the Black Lives Matter movement

The National Gallery of Australia has commissioned a $14m Lindy Lee sculpture

Nick Brandt’s startling portraits showcase African animals – and humans – under threat

Refik Anadol’s Machine Hallucinations is a public artwork about data privacy

John Constable took it on the chin when asked to paint a neighbour

Helen Frankenthaler’s woodcuts are transcendent

Cameras are helping refugee children to heal

Charles Jencks’ extraordinary pomo house is opening to the public

… and Greenwich’s Design District is open for business

Yorkshire Sculpture International is under way

… and neon flickers back to life in Wakefield

A Guardian documentary reveals how “nuns” canonised Derek Jarman

… while another film shows how Picture Post photojournalism changed Britain

The UK National Gallery’s new chair is a Tory donor

Designers are engaged in making smart toilets

… meanwhile, the British Rail logo’s green makeover is “a mess”

The Ocean Photographer of the Year awards were announced

All Aboriginal art is political

Haley Morris-Cafiero’s guerrilla photos deal with body image

Edward Thompson sees strange things in Kent

Sponges, blood cells and sound-art feature in the UK’s first ever cancer research exhibition

The race to crown China’s ugliest building is on

Mass Isolation Australia made a visual record of its pandemic

Sydney Powerhouse chief Lisa Havilah holds family treasures dear

Photo Basel has gone colourful

A Frida Kahlo self-portrait could set a new Latin American record

We remembered potter Richard Batterham

Masterpiece of the week

Camille Pissarro. The Louvre under Snow 1902
Photograph: The National Gallery, London

The Louvre Under Snow, 1902, by Camille Pissarro
You can see the echoes of Japanese prints by Hokusai and his contemporaries in this Impressionist picture of the floating world. Pissarro’s brush alights on the passing beauty of a winter white-out, observing central Paris from an apartment he rented for its great view of the Seine. The cinematic way he frames the scene, the sense of ephemerality and immediacy, even the joy in winter as a beautiful season all speak of Pissarro’s debts to Hokusai. He shares this enthusiasm with Van Gogh, Whistler and Monet. Japanese art hit Europe’s avant garde in the the 19th century like a great wave.
National Gallery, London

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