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Thursday, Sep 23, 2021

Is Oscar Murillo the new Jean Dubuffet? Plus the real Dubuffet! – the week in art

Is Oscar Murillo the new Jean Dubuffet? Plus the real Dubuffet! – the week in art

Murillo shows work he commissioned by children in 30 countries, Alison Watts says it with flowers and time is ticking to catch the must-see Dubuffet
Exhibition of the week

Oscar Murillo: Frequencies
The joint winner of the 2019 Turner prize exhibits artworks he commissioned from children at 350 schools in 30 countries. Is Murillo the new Dubuffet?
Artangel at Cardinal Pole school, Hackney, London, 24 July to 30 August.

An artwork from Oscar Murillo’s Frequencies.


Also showing

Joshua Reynolds
The West Country connections of the great Enlightenment portrait artist who founded the Royal Academy are revealed in Family & Friends: Reynolds at Port Eliot, showing in the city where he was born.
The Box, Plymouth 24 July to 5 September.

Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness
Scotland’s most skilled contemporary painter responds to 18th-century portraits by Allan Ramsay with precise images of flowers.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, until 9 January.

Ian Hamilton Finlay: Martin
An exploration of the darkly meditative Scottish poet and conceptual artist’s fascination with the sea.
City Arts Centre, Edinburgh, until 3 October.

Garden with Melitaea (Jardin aux Mélitées) by Jean Dubuffet from the show at the Barbican, London.


Jean Dubuffet: Brutal Beauty
This explosive encounter with the hilarious and profound genius who invented art brut is the exhibition of the year. If you have not yet seen it, GO.
Barbican, London, until 22 August

Image of the week

The Fortress of Königstein from the North-West (1756–8) by Bernardo Bellotto.

Bernardo Bellotto, the nephew and pupil of Canaletto, channelled his master’s Venetian magic into these five sublime views of a fortress in deepest Germany, on display at National Gallery, London.

What we learned


Notes left on the defaced mural of Marcus Rashford are to be preserved …

… and a powerful memorial to Covid victims has been created in London

London’s National Gallery is to buy Thomas Lawrence’s Red Boy for £9.3m

Losing world heritage status has shone a light on Liverpool’s redevelopment …

… while Highways England may have to restore a Victorian bridge arch it filled with concrete

The EU’s tallest apartment building has been finished in Benidorm …

… but eye-catching new buildings will be in short supply when the Tokyo Olympics open

Funding cuts to university arts courses in England will go ahead …

… Artists in Britain do not have freedom of speech …

… particularly in Southend-on-Sea, where an artwork about Britain’s ‘nuclear colonialism’ was removed

Elsewhere in Essex is a coastal art trail …

… while Menorca’s newest art gallery carries a whiff of Somerset

Sophie Taeuber-Arp is the great overlooked modernist …

… and Phyllida Barlow is at large again – in Highgate cemetery

Four decades of British youth are captured in Youth Rising in the UK: 1981-2021

The Folkestone Triennial is big on fun – and home truths

More than 100 ‘unseen’ drawings by Hokusai will go on display at the British Museum

Photographer Sophia Spring captured London’s green spaces during lockdown

Community museums were shortlisted for UK’s most lucrative arts prize …

… while all the big museums want Pope.L’s guerrilla brilliance

Coby Kennedy made a plexiglass cell to show where a teenager was imprisoned on Rikers Island, New York …

… while Felipe Dana pictured Gaza’s silent children

Silo art has turned the Australian outback into a vast outdoor gallery

Stephen Doyle’s sculptures make novel use of books

Masterpiece of the week

Goya, A Scene from The Forcibly Bewitched, 1798
It’s just a play. It’s not real. Don’t worry. So you might tell yourself when looking at this scene from a Spanish drama in which a man is fooled into thinking he will die if he lets his lamp go out. Goya, who made his fortune in the late 18th century designing tapestries and painting portraits, captures the comedy in the bright, intense colours that made him fashionable. But something’s not right. Those spectral donkeys looming up – are they really just scenery? Goya makes the flame of the lamp intense and hot, as if it were the only light in the world. This is the uneasy joke of an artist whose nightmares were all too real. Within a few years, the Napoleonic wars would plunge Spain into cruel anarchy and Goya would paint the terrifying frescoes of madness, superstition and witchcraft known as his Black Paintings. Here he peeps behind the curtain into the dark.

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