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Ice cream, flayed statues and The Great Wave – the week in art

The Great Wave (1831), from Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji, by Hokusai.
The Great Wave (1831), from Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji, by Hokusai. Photograph: British Museum

Exhibition of the week

The man who painted The Great Wave is one of the world’s most passionate and poetic artists. This promises to be a captivating encounter with his genius.
British Museum, London, 25 May–13 August

Also showing

Canaletto and the Art of Venice
The entrancing cityscapes of this 18th-century painter preserve Italy’s floating urban paradise as it was 250 years ago.
The Queen’s Gallery, London, until 12 November

Wayne Thiebaud
America’s sweet tooth is wistfully celebrated by Thiebaud’s lyrical depictions of candy, cake and ice cream.
White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, 24 May–2 July

Graham Fagen
The history of slavery is uneasily remixed by Fagen’s reworking of Robert Burns’s 1792 poem The Slave’s Lament.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, 20 May–29 October

Marc Quinn
Flayed statues eerily inhabit the haunted world of this magical museum in Quinn’s enjoyable intervention.
Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, until 23 September

Masterpiece of the week

JMW Turner, Calais Pier, 1803

Calais Pier (1803), by JMW Turner.
Calais Pier (1803), by JMW Turner. Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images

It looks exaggerated, but by all accounts crossing the English channel really was as dangerous as this at the beginning of the 19th century. Turner’s painting is so real and alive you almost feel the sea sickness of the passengers as they try to disembark from a frail boat on to a feeble wooden pier that looks as if it’s about to be swept away on the mountainous waters. Turner (1775-1851) and Hokusai (1760-1849) were contemporaries. Their visions of the sea share a sense of human smallness.
National Gallery, London.

Image of the week

J 50, 2008.
J 50, 2008. Photograph: Dana Lixenberg

An image from Imperial Courts, a photo series taken on a Los Angeles housing estate between 1993 and 2015 by Dutch photographer Dana Lixenberg. She was awarded the Deutsche Borse photography prize this week, beating Sophie Calle, Awoiska van der Molen, and the duo of Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs. In an interview with the Guardian, she described why she made the series: “I want each image to be its own self-contained story, and then together, as a body, they present the community in a certain way. It’s not the wild west with people shooting each other, but people do live with a lot of loss and death.”

What we learned this week

Adrian Searle reviewed the 2017 Venice Biennale ...

... and the Observer’s Laura Cumming gave her take, too

Also from Venice, Hannah Ellis-Petersen reported on how Tunisia and fictional state NSK are swapping art for passports in a satirical swipe at the refugee crisis

Helena Smith reported from Athens where the Documenta festival is riling locals

Oliver Wainwright went to Le Havre and found a secret architectural paradise

Hettie Judah interviewed Wu Tsang, the trans artist retelling history with lesbian kung fu

Rowan Moore visited Vex, London’s coolest new house

Jill Freedman told us about her best shot – a woman dressed as the Easter Bunny riding a penny-farthing through New York

A Jean-Michel Basquiat skull painting sold for a record $110.5m at auction

Photos from a US cross-dressing retreat in the 1950s and 60s are to go on show in the UK for the first time

The shortlist for the Klaus Flugge children’s book illustration prize was announced

The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has acquired 50 beautiful images by photographer Brett Weston

Travis Diehl asked: can TV shows help people understand art?

Get involved

Guardian members can book now for an exclusive private view: True Faith, a group show exploring the impact of Joy Division and New Order on the art world, part of Manchester international festival.

Don’t forget

To follow us on Twitter: @GdnArtandDesign

This article titled "Ice cream, flayed statues and The Great Wave – the week in art" was written by Jonathan Jones, for on Friday 19 May 2017 01.57pm

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