arts and design

Shonibare takes on Picasso and female sculptors break the mould – the week in art


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.

Also showing

Julie Curtiss
Surrealistic paintings with a disturbingly exaggerated realism dwelling on fetishised bodies and hair.
White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, until 26 June.

Samson Kambalu
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.

Woburn Treasures
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 Colston statue: What next?
The Colston statue: What next? at M Shed, Bristol. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

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

Antony Gormley said Oxford’s Rhodes statue should face the wall

while Gary Younge says all historical statues should come down

and the toppled statue of Edward Colston went on display in Bristol

Murals, gardens and a statue of Capt Sir Tom Moore will honour lives lost to Covid-19

War Inna Babylon opens next month at the ICA

Starmer’s student posing could over the Joy Division dads

Street photographer Dawoud Bey gave his black subjects a presence

Photographers documented the nightmare of the US drug crisis

Artists are shaking off the Brexit blues in Paris

Artists are ignoring the high carbon costs of non-fungible tokens

Italian art police have turned the tide on Pompeii tomb raiders

… while a French woman gave up the fight for Nazi-looted Pissarro

… and the UK banned the export of a £17m Italian bronze roundel

Tom Copi caught Iggy Pop surfing a crowd

An artist will pay people £10 to howl like wolves at Preston bus station

while Stewart Lee has offered to take over as culture secretary

The ‘Michelangelo of Middlesbrough’ painted a million tiny cobbles

Ellen Gallagher is inspired by the sex life of coral

Mohamed Bourouissa thinks France has catching up to do

Samson Kambalu is making cultures collide in Oxford

Galt toys and CND designer Ken Garland was a political firebrand

Leonora Carrington’s Mexico home is now a museum

A huge new show of Barbara Hepworth’s work opened in Wakefield

Spain’s photographers are seeking a national archive

… while Barcelona has said no to the St Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum

Ai Weiwei’s Gilded Cage went on display at Blenheim Palace, Oxford

A printmaker has highlighted the existential plight of moths

Australian artist Richard Bell uses his art for bold activism

Peter Wegner won the Archibald prize for his portrait of Guy Warren

A late-night visit to an art gallery is the perfect sober evening out

Masterpiece of the week

Fête Galante in a Wooded Landscape
Photograph: The Wallace Collection

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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