Guardian Unlimited Arts

Guardian Unlimited Arts

Latest art and design news, comment and analysis from the Guardian
  1. The fire at the Notre Dame cathedral, the protest in Sudan, Tiger Woods winning the Masters and Holy Week in Spain – the week captured by the world’s best photojournalists

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  2. Three decades ago, the Australian artist was told her focus on nature was too feminine. Today, it’s a matter of urgency

    Janet Laurence is wearing a living plant in a glass vial around her neck. The bright pop of green stands out against her flowing white dress. It’s as if she’s just stepped out of one of her own artworks – perhaps the one in which endangered rainforest plants are grown in beakers of laboratory glass, with lines of transparent tubing connecting the plants’ roots.

    “All my life I’ve been very empathetic with other species,” she says. “I have incredibly vivid memories of always being very caring of things in nature, of plants and other animals.”

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  3. Anna Boghiguian gets her first UK retrospective and the V&A turns its attention to cars and miniskirts – all in our weekly dispatch

    Anna Boghiguian
    Last chance to see the Egyptian-Canadian artist’s response to the industrial history of Cornwall with Marxist papier-mache, artist’s books and paintings.
    Tate St Ives until 6 May.

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  4. In our Guardian archive series this week, we have an image of horned cattle on the edge of the Howgill fells, photographed by Don McPhee

    Donkeys, sheep, pit ponies … the great photographer Don McPhee captured them all in his beloved northern Britain during his long career with the Guardian. Although his portfolio encompasses virtually every subject, and he was especially interested in politics and trade union affairs, he repeatedly turned to the natural world in his photographs. This picture was taken on the northern edge of the Howgill fells, near Tebay, close to Kendal and the Yorkshire Dales national park. These horned cattle graze the lush grass around here, surrounded by dry stone walls and sweeping hills.

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  5. The American painter evokes a sense of narrative entwined with history, untold stories and underwater utopia

    Brutal history is refashioned as ethereal fantasy in Ellen Gallagher’s painting Bird in Hand from 2006. The rum fellow at its centre combines Moby-Dick’s Captain Ahab, tap-dancing star Peg Leg Bates and the untold stories of those thrown overboard on slave ships from Cape Verde, where the artist’s paternal family hail from.

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  6. The Game, which features about 1,000 of the artist’s Trump collectables, aims to show that he ‘didn’t appear out of nowhere’

    In 2004, the New York artist Andres Serrano walked into Trump Tower with his camera to photograph Donald Trump. He spent 30 minutes shooting the president as part of his America photo series.

    Fifteen years later, this portrait is the centerpiece of an exhibition in New York called The Game: All Things Trump, where Serrano has put his collection of about 1,000 pieces of Trump memorabilia on view. From a slice of Donald and Melania’s wedding cake to Trump golf balls, signed magazine covers and a Taj Mahal casino roulette table, the artist spent roughly $200,000 buying this all on eBay. It’s what the artist considers a colossal portrait of Trump.

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  7. Greg Funnell and Amanda Barnes ride, swim and drink mate tea with some of Argentina’s most skilled horsemen, travelling from the north-eastern wetlands to the faded gaucho heartlands of La Pampa and Patagonia

    The water reaches up to my knees as a large lump rises to my throat. I clench my inner thighs tighter around the firm body of my horse and look hesitantly up at Omar in the canoe ahead. “Let go and float like a crocodile,” he instructs over the heavy grunts of the horses and the tumultuous splashing of the river underfoot.

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  8. British Museum, London
    In his paintings and especially his wildly experimental prints, the bereft, brilliant Munch created a universal language of despair

    The face of Edvard Munch, pale, tense, insomniac, looms like a moon in outer darkness. Black night seethes all around him and there is a funereal austerity to his collar and neatly combed hair. The wide moustache and low-slung eyelids are superbly described, and you might stop there, amazed at the graphic acuity of this lithograph, nearly the size of life and one of Munch’s earliest and largest prints. But then comes the double take: resting along the bottom, where his own arm should be, is the bony white arm of a skeleton.

    Half-dead, yet still alive. This is classic Munch, exaggeration in the service of emotional truth. The artist was only 32 when he made this print in 1895, and would survive another 50 years, but already felt himself to be living a posthumous existence of alcohol, despair and poverty. He had begun making prints the previous year, initially for money, but continued right up to his death in 1944. They are among his fiercest works, sometimes greater than the canvases, on the strength of this exhibition, which includes both. For Edvard Munch: Love and Angst opens with this shattering self-portrait and never lets up.

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  9. In a striking development of 26 town houses, architect Peter Barber has devised an imaginative solution to London’s lack of housing options

    Future historians looking back at the current era may recoil in fascinated horror at how unequivocally dire a time it was for British housing. Supply still lags far behind demand, with catastrophic social consequences. Most new housing stock is characterised by banal designs, flimsy construction and chiselling proportions. Rabbit hutch Britain has some of the smallest domestic space standards in Europe, with new homes averaging 76 sq metres compared with Denmark’s 137 sq metres.

    In London, the situation is more acutely polarised. Lack of affordable housing in the capital has become a defining political and social crisis. Cracking it will require concerted will and vision, still conspicuously absent in the current Conservative administration. In the meantime, a resistance of sorts can be found in the work of architects operating within existing frameworks to implement modern housing projects with their roots in surprisingly traditional models.

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  10. National Gallery, London
    Sean Scully’s work has been placed alongside a much-misunderstood seascape by Turner. The result is a fascinating exhibition full of insight, power and glorious melting colour

    Sometimes it takes a painter to see a painter. At the heart of Sean Scully’s exhibition in the National Gallery is an eye-opening meeting between him and JMW Turner on a beach where sky, sea and land are melting into an abstract layering of light.

    Turner was born in London in 1775 and by the time of his death in 1851 he was seen by baffled Victorians as an abstracted madman throwing mustard and curry powder at his canvases. Scully was born in Dublin in 1945 and has never doubted his vocation as an abstract artist. You are more likely to see him on Celebrity Bake Off than painting a recognisable face or tree – and that’s not likely at all for an artist who consciously wears the mantle of great modern painters such as Mark Rothko and Ellsworth Kelly.

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