Exhibition of the week
Harland Miller: Imminent End, Rescheduled Eternally
Paintings of book covers that evoke the reveries of readers who dream of writing.
• White Cube Bermondsey, London, until 22 January.
Magdalena Abakanowicz: Every Tangle of Thread and Rope
A surreal woven world by one of Poland’s most significant modern artists.
• Tate Modern, London, until 21 May.
Newly restored museum of one of the most magical painters ever.
• Sudbury, Suffolk, from 21 November.
Ken Kiff: Man, Bird and Tree
Dreamy, sensual art by a modern painter ripe for rediscovery.
• Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate, 20 November to 5 February.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Images of nature’s beauty that also document its destruction.
• Natural History Museum, London, until 12 July.
Image of the week
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s King Zulu is a field of loud sky-blue populated with the figures of legendary jazz artists: Louis Armstrong clutching his trumpet, Charlie Parker on saxophone, an all-star band for all time. The revered artist was obsessed with music throughout his career – from Beethoven to bebop to his own abrasive, atonal “noise band” – and a major new show at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts, Seeing Loud, aims to better understand what his pieces are really about by listening to them – and him – far more attentively. Read the full article here.
What we learned
Masterpiece of the week
Venus and Cupid in a Landscape, c 1523-24, by Palma Vecchio
This painting may vaunt its mythological attributes – the love god Cupid has his wings, bow and quiver to strike people down with desire – but it is also a depiction of reality. Michelangelo jibed that Venetian artists such as Palma Vecchio had no art and just painted from life. In other words, they worked with models, like their admirer Lucian Freud centuries later. The woman who poses here as Venus has also been recognised in a breast-baring portrait by Palma Vecchio in London’s National Gallery. There she holds a bunch of flowers: not a polite reference to the goddess Flora but rather a symbol that she is a sex worker. Here she poses with proud boredom, holding that arrow as if she can’t wait for old Palma to put down his brush. It makes this painting not just a classical idyll but a raw slice of life.
• Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
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