Abstraction in photography and nature in fashion – the week in art

Photographic experiments from Man Ray to Thomas Ruff, a philosophical cabinet of curiosities, and Parliament Square’s first female statue – all in your weekly dispatch

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Exhibition of the week

Shape of Light
Photography’s relationship with abstract art is explored, from the experiments of Man Ray to contemporary work by Thomas Ruff and Maya Rochat.
Tate Modern, London, 2 May-14 October.

Also showing

Lantivet Coast. From: Cornish Coast 1, 2017, by Julian Opie, from Alan Cristea Gallery, 2018.
Lantivet Coast by Julian Opie. Photograph: Alan Cristea Gallery

Julian Opie
Cartoon portraits and radically simplified figures make for bold yet unexpectedly philosophical art.
Alan Cristea Gallery, London, until 16 June.

The Philosophy Chamber
An 18th-century cabinet of curiosities at Harvard University is re-created in an exhibition that looks at the history of collecting.
Hunterian, Glasgow, until 15 July.

Fashioned from Nature
A 19th-century Darwinian dress decorated with beetle wing-cases in black and white is one of the fascinating images of nature that have been shaped for the sake of fashion.
V&A, London, until 27 January.

Charmed Lives in Greece
The philhellenic friendship of Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, John Craxton and Patrick Leigh Fermor shows how a passion for Greece has inspired modern artists and writers.
British Museum, London, until 15 July.

Masterpiece of the week

Rembrandt, Anna and the Blind Tobit, about 1630, at The National Gallery, London

Anna and the Blind Tobit (c1630) by Rembrandt
Light and dark shape a space in this mesmerising work of art. The Biblical story of Tobit tells how he is blinded and his family reduced to poverty as a test from God. Here Tobit and his wife Anna share their suffering in a humble interior probably much like the homes of poor peasants at the time it was painted. Rembrandt sculpts the dark, soft atmosphere of the room so that the air itself seems tangible. Through this velvety chiaroscuro he suggests the blind inner world of Tobit. Is true vision optical or is it in the mind’s eye? Rembrandt feels his way towards the shadowy truth.
National Gallery, London

Image of the week

Unveiling of statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square. The statue has been created by Turner-prize winning artist, Gillian Wearing.
Gillian Wearing’s statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square. Photograph: Mark Thomas/Rex/Shutterstock

Millicent Fawcett by Gillian Wearing
London’s Parliament Square has its first statue of a woman: Millicent Fawcett, the suffragist who fought for women’s right to vote. The unveiling was attended by those who benefit from her legacy – including a prime minister, a bishop and women leaders from many walks of British life.

What we learned

The Turner prize shortlist has a campaigning flavour, from investigative journalism to identity politics

Julian Opie explained why boredom is an artistic spur

Rodin is given a run for his money by the Greeks …

… while Matisse is in fashion

Glasgow International is a sensual adventure

Uncomfortable Art Tours are slaves to truth when it comes to history

Artists have taken over a deserted California beach

Being an artist on Captain Cook’s voyages was a dangerous endeavour

Silicon Valley is redesigning speculums

Yves Klein will be painting Blenheim blue

Soviet film posters are not all red

The National Gallery of Victoria is reconnecting with the artists it set up home with

George Byrne made a connection with Muslim Americans

Alien worlds? Or the Australian outback?

William Eckersley’s city is a dark one

A New Orleans show charts the fascinating history of photography

Kyotographie explores contemporary image-making in Japan

A Modigliani painting is given the highest ever pre-sale estimate

Don’t forget

To follow us on Twitter: @GdnArtandDesign


Jonathan Jones

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