arts and design

Playful portraits and the Queen's Rembrandts on show – the week in art


Exhibition of the week

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Painted portraiture meets the identity games of Cindy Sherman in Yiadom-Boakye’s playful art depicting fictitious people.
Tate Britain, London, from 2 December until 9 May.

Also showing

Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace
Lorenzo Lotto’s Portrait of Andrea Odoni, plus the Queen’s Rembrandts and Vermeers – a luxury assortment of royal treats.
Queen’s Gallery, London, from 4 December until 31 January.

Jennifer Packer
Paintings that explore race and representation in the US.
Serpentine Gallery, London, from 5 December until 14 March.

Titian
Instead of panic shopping before the November lockdown, I made a panic second visit to this exhibition, to feast on its opulent colours. Which is another way of saying: don’t miss it!
National Gallery, London, reopening from 2 December until 17 January.

Linda McCartney
Memory lane, adjacent to Penny Lane, revisited in McCartney’s evocative, intimate photographs.
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, reopening 2 December until 10 January.

Image of the week

Jaiden, a young basketball player, pictured in an image in the White Hart Lane series by Jack Smethers
Photograph: Jack Smethers

In the ongoing series White Hart Lane, British photographer Jack Smethers returned to Tottenham, the north London district where he spent his childhood. While researching the project he contacted local activist Hesketh Benoit, who promotes access to sport in a safe environment as an alternative to violence for the young people of Tottenham. Through Benoit, Smethers was introduced to basketball player Jaiden, a “sharp and talented young black man who is often overlooked in the media’s portrayal of inner city London youth”. His photograph, along with others, is in our gallery of Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait prize images, which focused on the way we’ve coped during Covid-19.

What we learned

Six artists shared the Jarman award for the moving image

For the first time, all of the 2020 Taylor Wessing prizes were awarded to women

The early paintings of Traci (not Tracey) Emin went on show

Cardi B and Billie Eilish gave art to an auction for families of black women killed by police

Melbourne’s proposed vast new contemporary art gallery gets its funding

while the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney will close next month

Ralph Steadman reflected on A Life in Ink

A one-wheeled Banksy bike rolled away

The Observer’s design magazine celebrated the best craft for Christmas and other design news

Great British Bake Off illustrator Tom Hovey doesn’t eat cake

A mural of Churchill in suspenders has been reprieved

God is a black woman, says Destiny Deacon

Brighton Pier stuck out in the Historic Photographer of the Year awards

Armenia embraced Afrofuturism at the Yerevan Biennial

In Denver, artists reinvented the mask …

… while in Britain, Prints for Music is selling art to for the Stagehand Covid-19 Crew Relief fund

Photographing polar bears is a perilous business

Eric Tabuchi and Nelly Monnier made a photographic atlas of everyday France

An Artists Walk makes passersby in to gallery-goers

A strange metal monolith appeared in Utah

In Cumbria, Pooley Bridge is worth crossing again

Catherine Panebianco’s family slides belong to every story

A giant portrait of Polish astronomer Copernicus will come to Britain

Wonders of theatrical design were captured by Tristram Kenton

Brian Kaplan fell in love with a different Cape Cod …

… while Julius Shulman had an eye for California’s stunning architecture

Masterpiece of the week

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas’s At the Café de Châteaudun
Photograph: The National Gallery, London

At the Café de Châteaudun, c1869-71, by Edgar Degas
This is not a portrait, or a satirical scene, or an illustration to a novel. It’s just two men observed in a cafe, poring over the newspaper. Degas is experimenting with a new art of modern life and a new idea of the artist. He himself is – we are invited to imagine – just another customer in the cafe, surreptitiously sketching the men from his own table. The poet and critic Charles Baudelaire urged the “painter of modern life” to explore the city as an idler and observer. Here Degas puts that theory into practice.
National Gallery, London.

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