Exhibition of the week
Yinka Shonibare CBE
A provocative encounter in which Shonibare takes on Picasso, exploring the Spanish master’s collection of masks and modern art’s debt to Africa.
Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, until 31 July.
Surrealistic paintings with a disturbingly exaggerated realism dwelling on fetishised bodies and hair.
White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, until 26 June.
Drawing on the cultural history of Malawi, this installation imagines an “initiation ceremony” for a new age of human equality.
Modern Art Oxford until 5 September.
Breaking the Mould
Rachel Whiteread, Cornelia Parker, Elisabeth Frink, Eva Rothschild and Barbara Hepworth are among the powerful female British sculptors in this show from the Arts Council Collection.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park until 5 September.
The art collection of Woburn Abbey is on show in this beautiful Inigo Jones palace while its usual home is being restored. Well worth seeing for portraits by Reynolds and Poussin’s Bathsheba.
Queen’s House, Greenwich, until 31 December.
Image of the week
The statue of slave trader Edward Colston that was toppled during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol last year has gone on display at the M Shed museum. Covered in graffiti and unable to stand upright, the statue will be exhibited alongside placards from the protest and a timeline of events. “The anti-racist movement isn’t about statues,” said Dr Shawn Sobers, from the We Are Bristol History commission. “But statues are a symbol of how seriously our cities in Britain are actually taking these issues.”
What we learned
Masterpiece of the week
Antoine Watteau, Fête Galante in a Wooded Landscape, c1719-21
Watteau’s heady blend of perfumed fantasy and acute realism is unique. This genius of the rococo style, with its frills and flowers and belief in pleasure, died young and left lovely visions for the ages. Here the melting, dreamy foliage and blue shade of a pastoral idyll is fleshed out when you look at the hedonists’ faces. Many are clearly portraits of very solid, unidealised people. And in a truly surreal touch that anticipates the cinema of Buñuel and Cocteau, the nude statue in the foreground seems to be coming to life. Not only is she waking but her very human body is depicted believably, with no regard for classical ideals. Watteau, the first great French modern artist, shows his fascinating originality.
Wallace Collection, London.
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