What if Hitchcock directed lockdown? – the week in art

With its online Rear Window show, the White Cube is letting you ‘spy’ on works by Jeff Wall, while Cardiff celebrates Welsh national treasure Richard Burton, and Mary Quant goes back to the 60s – all in your weekly dispatch

Exhibition of the week

Rear Window
Stuck indoors for lockdown? This witty online show suggests it’s a bit like being James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. In this cinema classic, Stewart plays an ace photographer trapped in his apartment with a broken leg. Like Stewart’s curious voyeur watching his neighbours, you are tempted here to “spy” on seductive artworks by Jeff Wall, Ellen Altfest, Gillian Carnegie and more. Good fun.
White Cube online.

Also showing

Becoming Richard Burton
A Welsh icon is celebrated in this nostalgic exhibition at Cardiff’s National Museum, which is open.
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, from tomorrow until 11 April.

With its five-star survey of the sword-wielding baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi temporarily closed, the National Gallery offers a new online curator’s tour with Letizia Treves.
National Gallery online.

Mary Quant
This celebration of the 1960s icon is open with social distancing.
V&A Dundee until 17 January.

Paolo Pellegrin
Black-and-white images of a world in danger by the globetrotting Magnum photographer.
Michael Hoppen Gallery online until 10 January.

Image of the week

Adam Lowe at the Factum Arte workshop in Madrid.
Adam Lowe at the Factum Arte workshop in Madrid. Photograph: Denis Doyle/The Guardian

From the tomb of Tutankhamun to Raphael’s Sistine masterpieces, Adam Lowe makes perfect copies for governments and galleries the world over. But he’s not a forger – he’s a liberator. Read the interview.

What we learned

The art world is divided over whether to sell to stay alive

while a new Nigerian museum could solve the Benin bronzes row

and UK museums and galleries fear Covid poses existential threat

Manchester is knocking down its modernist Tadao Ando wall in Piccadilly Gardens

Angelina Jolie is to direct a biopic of photographer Don McCullin

We probed the mystery of a vanishing Botticelli

A photobook on slaughterhouses punches for the vegan cause

Maggi Hambling responded to her Wollstonecraft statue critics

Steve McQueen celebrated black NHS nurses through the decades

Johny Pitts searched for identity in his home town

while we got the inside track on California

Ugly buildings are on the rise

Homeless people drew their own graphic novel

Stefan Brüggemann has words about the US-Mexican border

Kei Nomiyama followed fireflies

Photo Vogue festival looked at the changing face of fashion

Anthony Hill, artist, mathematician and theoretician of the British constructionist movement, has died aged 90

Mohamed Melehi, whose paintings took inspiration from the craft culture of his native Morocco, has died

We remembered rock photographer Baron Wolman

Masterpiece of the week

Hans Memling's Saint John the Evangelist about 1478

Saint John the Evangelist, about 1478, by Hans Memling
There’s a tender, natural quality to this depiction of a good-looking saint. The figure is still and calm but not stiff or formal. Memling, born in Germany, was the most in-demand painter in Bruges, in Flanders, in the 1470s, attracting commissions from all over Europe. This work is a side-wing of an altarpiece commissioned by the Welsh-born Sir John Donne, a courtier of Edward IV of England. Bruges became a hot spot of European art in the early 1400s when Jan van Eyck perfected a revolutionary new way of depicting reality. Memling’s sweet Saint John shows how he has mastered that intimate realism while giving it a more elegant, almost Italian grace.
National Gallery, London.

Don’t forget

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Jonathan Jones

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