A gorgeous Gainsborough returns, street art goes AR and monuments are remade – the week in art

·2 min read

Gainsborough’s Blue Boy ends his 100-year absence, Kaws takes over a gallery and your phone while Jeremy Deller rethinks statues post-Colston – all in your weekly dispatch


Exhibition of the week

Gainsborough’s Blue Boy
One of the most famous portraits ever painted in Britain returns from the US for the first time in a century.
National Gallery, London, 25 January to 15 May

Also showing

British Art Show 9
Michael Armitage, Alberta Whittle, Jamie Crewe, Florence Peake and many more feature in this sprawling attempt to catch the pulse of art now.
Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Wolverhampton School of Art, 22 January to 10 April

America in Crisis
Photographs from the Vietnam era and today offer a historical perspective on what the hell has gone wrong with the United States.
Saatchi Gallery, London, until 3 April

Testament
Phyllida Barlow, Jeremy Deller and Mark Wallinger are among the artists rethinking memorial monuments, after Colston and Covid.
Goldsmiths CCA, London until 3 April

Kaws
The celebrity street artist offers a show that’s in the gallery, but also on Fortnite and an augmented reality phone app.
Serpentine, London, until 27 February

Image of the week

Ways of Seeing, John Berger’s TV show that changed the way we see art, has turned 50. In 1972, Berger’s groundbreaking series confronted the blind reverence of art, showing viewers how oil paintings such as Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors were in fact commodities made for the rich as a way to assert their power and worldview. As Olivia Laing writes about how the series opened the public’s eyes: “A landscape was not innocent, and nor was a lobster, let alone a nude of Venus.”

What we learned

Tracey Emin wants her art removed from No 10 due to Boris Johnson’s behaviour

A wave of googly eyes has hit Adelaide landmarks and colonial statues

Street artist Kaws thinks his virtual exhibition will connect with people in “a new and massive way”

Great artists have designed wine labels – bring me a bottle of Picasso!

The fate of a Nazi-looted Pissarro is to be decided by US supreme court

Jordan Nassar’s embroidery depicts a peaceful Palestine

Pressure is increasing on the UK to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece

Nigerian documentary photographer and artist Etinosa Yvonne is latest in our series, Women behind the lens

Rachel Mars will weld a replica of the Dachau concentration camp entrance as part of a Leeds festival

The BBC’s Eric Gill statue was vandalised in response to his sexual crimes

Masterpiece of the week

Le Petit Parc by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c1762-64
Fragonard – even his name sounds like, and is, a perfume. This radical, provocative stylist painted hedonist scenes of aristocratic decadence at a time when other French artists were getting into a proto-revolutionary mood. His seductive scenes include that notorious Rococo idyll The Swing, also in the Wallace Collection. But nothing he created is more erotic than this landscape. He doesn’t need to depict flesh to suggest sensual delights in this silky, melting image of soft foliage opening like a mouth in a wet french kiss. It is oil painting as orgasm.
Wallace Collection, London

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