Ai Weiwei v Lego – the week in art

The world sticks a primary-coloured middle finger up at the Danish toy company in solidarity with the Chinese artist. Plus Audrey Hepburn, a violent model village and Gilbert & George’s obsession with David Cameron – in your weekly dispatch

Exhibition of the week

Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art
The V&A reopens its gallery of art from all periods of Japan’s history: a refurbished and reinvented showcase for one of the most fertile of all artistic traditions.
V&A, London, from 5 November.

Other exhibitions this week

Chantal Akerman
This exhibition of the Belgian film-maker was planned before her recent death and now stands as an epitaph for her searching art.
Ambika P3, London, until 6 December.

Theaster Gates
Bristol becomes a cascade of sound and image in this collaborative project, the first British public artwork by this subversive US artist.
Sanctum, Temple Church, Bristol, until 21 November.

Audrey Hepburn
Images of one of the best loved of all screen stars.
The Wilson, Cheltenham, from 9 November to 31 January.

Robert Irwin
A modern master of light, space and simplicity.
White Cube Bermondsey, London, until 15 November.

Ben Johnson
Hyperrealist perspective paintings of our cities and spaces.
Southampton City Art Gallery until 23 January.

Image of the week

A scene from Marwencol by the amnesiac artist Mark Hogancamp. Marwencol is a one-sixth scale fictional Belgium town riven by torture and other horrors during the second world war.
A scene from Marwencol by the amnesiac artist Mark Hogencamp. Marwencol is a one-sixth scale fictional Belgium town riven by torture and other horrors during the second world war. Photograph: Mark Hogencamp

Masterpiece of the week

Ejiri in Suruga Province
Katsushika Hokusai: Ejiri in Suruga Province. Colour woodblock, 1830-33. Photograph: British Museum

Hokusai – Ejiri in Suruga Province (1830-33), from the series 36 Views of Mount Fuji
People are caught in a gust of wind on the open road, holding on to their hats, bending into the gale as sheets of paper fly up in the air. Mount Fuji sits motionless behind them, untroubled by anything so small as a breath of wind. Hokusai contrasts its permanence with the flux and comedy of our lives, blown this way and that like bits of paper.
British Museum, London.

What we learned this week

Ai Weiwei was refused a bulk-buy of Lego by the toy company ...

… but he was swamped with offers from brick-lovers around the world …

… so he set up Lego collection points (cars that the public can fill) in several global cities

The incredible story of a second world war art project made by a cross-dresser left in a coma by bigots

About the astonishing life of Slava of the Arctic, who lives in a timewarp at a remote weather station

How you can become an expert in horrorgami

About artists’ darkest imaginings … Can you guess the ghoul?

That Gilbert and George are still courting controversy – and they’re big David Cameron fans

What really happens behind the scenes at the Supreme Cat Show, the UK’s top feline fete

That Christian Boltanski is counting down to his own demise

What the ghosts of the blitz look like

That Islamic State’s latest attack on Palmyra is a picture of the end of civilisation

That Neil MacGregor’s last hurrah at the British Museum – Egypt: Faith After the Pharaohs – is a miraculous dig into the past

About the people who stole the moon

That the Tories are having a “planning shakeup” ... that will leave London with no studios, no tech startups and no social housing

How a modern artwork came to be shoved in the bin by a cleaner

How grim and grisly historical surgery is. Can you stomach it?

About the “mega-mosque” and the “mega-church”, and the battle over London’s sacred sites

How a dentist was showered with art treasures for keeping the royal teeth gleaming

That Japanese erotica has had an update – which proves we’re all prudes

That Moscow and London are embarking on a cultural exchange

And finally ...

The A to Z of Readers’ Art – it’s your last chance to submit artworks for the theme B is for Body


Jonathan Jones

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Cosmic Stonehenge secrets, Ai Weiwei looks back, and gay sex 11,000 years ago – the week in art
The British Museum introduces Europe’s earliest ancestors, the activist artist sits his work next to Chinese antiquities and LGBT+ history month begins with the deep human past – all in your weekly dispatch

Jonathan Jones

11, Feb, 2022 @11:15 AM

Article image
The great $1m Ai Weiwei protest – the week in art

Jonathan Jones: A man in Miami smashed an Ai Weiwei vase thinking it was a fake. Plus mafia murders, spot the sniper and Henri Cartier-Bresson the communist

Jonathan Jones

21, Feb, 2014 @12:33 PM

Article image
Ai Weiwei terrifies us and Audrey Hepburn takes a dip – the week in art
The artist and activist tackles weapons of mass destruction and Terry O’Neill’s most celebrated photographs of A-listers are on display

Jonathan Jones

31, Jul, 2020 @1:47 PM

Article image
Jeff Koons, Creed cheese and Grayson Perry's phallus – the week in art
Cory Arcangel swaps canvas for clickbait, Ai Weiwei gives his verdict on the EU and the weird world of Victorian medical models – all in your weekly art dispatch

Jonathan Jones

20, May, 2016 @3:33 PM

Article image
Adrian Searle's 10 best art shows of 2015
Goya delighted and Ai Weiwei delivered. But 2015 belonged to the Whitney and its glorious look back at American art, says our art critic

Adrian Searle

15, Dec, 2015 @7:45 AM

Article image
Ai Weiwei, Modern Toss, The Turner Prize: this week’s new exhibitions
From Ai Weiwei’s show at Blenheim Palace to The Turner Prize in London, find out what’s happening in art around the country

Robert Clark & Skye Sherwin

27, Sep, 2014 @5:00 AM

Article image
Tate takes on Africa, and life beyond Rolf Harris – the week in art

Tate announces two-year spotlight on the continent, Australian art returns to the scene and controversial Converse from a famous centenarian – all in today's weekly art dispatch

Jonathan Jones

02, Nov, 2012 @11:52 AM

Article image
The most radical year in art history, and a new Gangnam Style – the week in art

Jonthan Jones: Was 1913 the most avant garde year ever? Plus Anish Kapoor and pals do Gangnam Style, and Gerry Adams hangs in the National Portrait Gallery – all in today's weekly art dispatch

Jonathan Jones

16, Nov, 2012 @10:33 AM

Article image
Leonardo, Goya and Ai Weiwei – the week in art

Jonathan Jones: From a daring exhibition of Leonardo's court paintings to Restoration naughtiness and English National Ballet's rehearsals at the Tate, discover the week's top shows and art news

Jonathan Jones

04, Nov, 2011 @9:00 AM

Article image
Man Ray does glam – the week in art

Jonathan Jones: Man Ray invents modern art's glamour age in London as performance style sashays into the spotlight in Liverpool – all in your weekly art dispatch

Jonathan Jones

08, Feb, 2013 @4:01 PM