Un-macho abstraction, a Venice Lion and questions of queerness – the week in art

The female heroes of abstract expressionism, Sonia Boyce in Margate and an unsettling ruling at Tate Modern – all in your weekly dispatch

Exhibition of the week

Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940-70
Abstract expressionism gets stereotyped as macho, but here are its female heroes, including Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler.
Whitechapel Gallery, London, 9 February to 7 May

Also showing

Sonia Boyce
The Golden Lion winner at last year’s Venice Biennale starts a national tour of her acclaimed work Feeling Her Way.
Turner Contemporary, Margate, 4 February to 8 May

Tudor Mystery: A Master Painter Revealed
Haunting Renaissance portraits by the Master of the Countess of Warwick, plus a picture of Elizabeth I that Shakespeare may have seen at New Place, Stratford.
Compton Verney, Warwickshire, until 7 May

Stephan Balkenhol
This literally incisive German artist shows his latest chiselled wood statues.
Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, until 25 February

Oliver Beer
An installation spanning centuries of British ceramics – and their sounds.
Mithraeum Bloomberg Space, London, 9 February until July

Image of the week

Attis-Amorino, bronze, courtesy of Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Firenze and The Ministry of Culture Italy]. Photo by Bruno Bruchi.

Attis-Amorino by Donatello, 1435-40
Was Donatello the first artist to express a queer identity? Works about to go on show at London’s V&A are reigniting debate about the sexuality of the masterly Renaissance sculptor.

What we learned

Do the viewing platforms at Tate Modern, London, compromise living in flats nearby? Apparently yes.

But Oliver Wainwright identifies this supreme court ruling as a worrying trend for public spaces in our cities

Sonia Boyce used to be terrified of wallpaper

A wooden office block is causing a stir

Hip-hop was this movement of people who weren’t considered valuable creating worth’: New York celebrates 50 years of hip-hop photography

When US artist Mike Henderson’s studio burned down, it was a chance to get married and have a family

Amsterdam gears up for its chance of a lifetime

‘This is living to me’: the women shunning city life for shepherding in Spain

Was Donatello the first artist in history to express a queer identity?

Adam McEwen has a knack with fake obituaries

Masterpiece of the week

Roman marble head of Antinous, Sculpture. Figure/Bust. Head of Antinous. Luna marble, height 0.41m, AD 101-200. Find Spot: Tivoli, Italy. Middle Roman Period.

Bust of Antinuous as Dionysos, AD 130-38
When the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s lover Antinous died, the grief-stricken ruler made him a god and had his face put on statues throughout the Roman world. Well, it’s one way to mourn. Hadrian’s sexuality and artistic tastes were influenced by his passion for ancient Greek culture, in which gay relationships were celebrated and male beauty idolised. Hadrian put his imprint, and that of Antinous, on the way later millennia perceived the classical heritage, for images like this one were widely imitated. About 1300 years later, Donatello would give David, the nude that set the Renaissance on fire, the perfect features of Antinous.
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

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• This article was amended on 4 February 2023 to correct a misspelling of Sonia Boyce’s name. It was further amended on 23 February 2023 when the image of the week was changed to replace a Donatello piece that does not feature in the exhibition with the sculpture Attis-Amorino.


Jonathan Jones

The GuardianTramp

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