Exhibition of the week
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.
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.
Paintings that explore race and representation in the US.
• Serpentine Gallery, London, from 5 December until 14 March.
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.
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
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
Masterpiece of the week
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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