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Bridget Riley dazzles, Turner is a winter wonder and Damien goes dotty ... again – the week in art

‘Her intelligence is a marvel to behold’ ... Bridget Riley in her London studio, 2017.
‘Her intelligence is a marvel to behold’ ... Bridget Riley in her London studio, 2017. Photograph: Igano Steed/Courtesy David Zwirner New York London

Exhibition of the week

Bridget Riley
Britain’s most brilliant abstract artist returns with new works created in the past four years. Riley’s intelligence is a marvel to behold.
David Zwirner gallery, London, 19 January to 10 March.

Also showing

Antoine Caron
The tournaments and chivalry of the French Renaissance are preserved in Caron’s fascinating 16th-century drawings.
Courtauld Gallery, London, 18 January to 15 April.

Turner in January
Turner’s watercolours are magic windows glowing with light and atmosphere. This annual unveiling is a winter wonder.
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, until 31 January.

The Business of Prints
Rembrandt and Goya are among the great artists in this survey of how images were reproduced before the photographic age, from the Renaissance to the early 19th century. Last chance to catch it.
British Museum, London, until 28 January.

From Life
The strange and fascinating tradition of drawing from the life model is brought up to date, including nude studies of Iggy Pop.
Royal Academy, London, until 11 March.

Masterpiece of the week

Clothes on the Grass: Study for Bathers at Asnières, 1883, by Georges Seurat

Clothes on the Grass: Study for Bathers at Asnières, 1883, by Georges Seurat
When Bridget Riley was developing her scientific conception of abstract art she closely studied and copied the work of Seurat. That was because this short-lived experimental artist (born in 1859, died in 1891) analysed the visual world like a chemist. Seurat’s pointillist fields of coloured dots break up visual experience into its myriad constituent parts and reveal the complex nature of perception. Yet his art is not cold or clinical. On the contrary, Seurat’s carefully planned compositions are full of emotional power. This study for his great 1884 painting Bathers at Asnières – which the National Gallery owns – is poignant and disconcerting. A heap of clothes abandoned on the shore could belong to a swimmer or a suicide. The shimmering river isn’t saying. Over this ambiguous pastoral moment, the tall thin chimneys of factories pump their grey smoke into the pale air. It looks as if someone has swum away to escape the prison of modern life.
National Gallery, London.

Image of the week

Day into night, New York, by Scott Mead

Day Into Night, New York, by Scott Mead
The US photographer specialises in taking photos of the views through aeroplane windows. Works from his book, Above the Clouds, are on show at Hamiltons Gallery, London, until 19 January.
See gallery of images from the exhibition.

What we learned this week

The UK’s new culture secretary is Matt Hancock

Convicted murderer William A Noguera has spent 30 years on death row in the United States – and become a painter

An Indigenous arts centre in Alice Springs is getting a moment in the sun

Damien Hirst is to paint a mansion in dots

Women artists found the label of surrealism a yoke

London’s theatres are a dazzling spectacle in themselves

On an early Swatch design prototype, the hands went backwards

William Blake’s work is taking a rare outing to Sussex

Niall McDiarmid found colourful people on the streets of Britain

Renny Tait makes London a simpler place

17th-century visitors to Bolsover Castle were a virtuous bunch

Frances Kearney had to find roadkill pheasants for her best photograph

Readers’ art

Our A-Z of Art series concluded with your pictures on the theme of Z is for zero.

Don’t forget

To follow us on Twitter: @GdnArtandDesign.

This article titled "Bridget Riley dazzles, Turner is a winter wonder and Damien goes dotty ... again – the week in art" was written by Jonathan Jones, for on Friday 12 January 2018 05.54pm

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