Cartoon cats, doomed sunbathers and the sound of Hogarth's London – the week in art

The British Museum is turning Japanese for Manga, Gin Lane is making a racket at the Foundling Museum, and the V&A has a lot on its plate – all in your weekly dispatch

Exhibition of the week

Manga
The wildly popular contemporary comic strip art from Japan gets the BM’s blockbuster treatment. Wot, run out of old pots?
• British Museum, London, 23 May to 26 August

Also showing

Gin Lane by William Hogarth, 1751.
Gin Lane by William Hogarth, 1751. Photograph: © Wellcome Collection

Hogarth and the Art of Noise
The racucousness of Hogarth’s art is expanded into soundscapes in what should be a joyous festival of urban chaos.
• Foundling Museum, London, 24 May to 1 September

Food: Bigger Than the Plate
A wacky exploration of the politics and economics of our diet.
• V&A, London, 18 May to 20 October

Keith Tyson
The artist who invented an “Art Machine” several years before the digital revolution goes back to art’s past, as he explores the genre of still life.
• Hauser and Wirth, London, 22 May to 7 September

Alison Watt
Folds and rolls of white linen provide endless visual fascination for this talented painter.
• Parafin, London, 24 May to 13 July

Masterpiece of the week

Kitagawa Utamaro Courtesan Reading a Letter 1805 - 6

Courtesan Reading a Letter (1805-06) by Kitagawa Utamaro
The energy of Manga, celebrated in a new blockbuster at the British Museum (see above), is a living expression of the flair for vivid human figures and faces that has long made Japanese art one of the world’s great visual traditions. Manga’s roots lie far back in 17th-century Edo (today’s Tokyo), where artists portrayed the city’s pleasure district, a “floating world” of brothels and inns. By the early 19th century, when this scroll was painted, Edo’s art of everyday life was rich and refined yet sensually realistic. The sublime colours of this courtesan’s swirling robes and her pale face captivate the eye, but as she introspectively reads a letter, lost in thought, we sense the mystery of her mind.
• British Museum, London

Image of the week

Sun & Sea (Marina) in the Lithuanian pavilion at Venice Biennale 2019

Sun & Sea (Marina) by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė
A beach full of doomed sunbathers installed in Lithuania’s pavilion won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Biennale for best national participation. The individual best artist prize went to US video artist Arthur Jafa, for his installation May You Live in Interesting Times.

Guardian photographer David Levene went to Venice to see the ‘Glastonbury of art’.

What we learned

• A Lowry cricket match may win £1m

• It’s high time we reframed the prodigious achievements of artist Lee Krasner

• Is this year’s Whitney Biennial too safe?

• AI hasn’t the wit to create art

• Archaeologists have collected artistic treasures from the Calais refugee camp

• Could Notre Dame be rebuilt with a rooftop pool?

• Britain’s parliament wants more women … on its walls

• Hadley’s Art prize showcases the majesty of the Australian landscape

• Architecture’s Mies van der Rohe prize went to a Bordeaux tower block

• Afghan capital Kabul is rebuilding its old town

• In Jasper Léonard’s eyes, Amsterdam is a model village

• David Severn went hunting for rabbits

• British press photographers are showing their best work

• An arts and crafts manor has been restored

• Lost Collective goes in search of ruins

• Titian’s epic paintings will unite again

Don’t forget

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Jonathan Jones

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