cover art for The Mona Lisa's endless, and problematic, allure; Judy Chicago; Christian Schad and the New Objectivity

The Week in Art

The Mona Lisa's endless, and problematic, allure; Judy Chicago; Christian Schad and the New Objectivity

As the Louvre’s director admits that the Paris museum wants to move its most famous painting away from the crowded gallery in which it is currently displayed, we ask the Leonardo specialist Martin Kemp: does the museum have a Mona Lisa problem? We also talk about the painting’s continuing allure and the ongoing efforts to explain its mysteries. In London, remarkably, Judy Chicago has just opened her first major multidisciplinary survey in a British public gallery, at the Serpentine North. We talk to her about the show. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Christian Schad’s Self-Portrait with Model (1927). The painting features in Splendour and Misery: New Objectivity in Germany at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. Hans-Peter Wipplinger, the director of the museum and co-curator of the show, tells us more.

Judy Chicago: Revelations, Serpentine North, London, until 1 September.

Splendour and Misery: New Objectivity in Germany, Leopold Museum, Vienna, until 29 September. 

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  • Art Basel: fireworks and nuance, Lynn Barber on her artist interviews, Guillaume Lethière at the Clark

    This week: it’s arguably the best loved of the major art fairs among collectors and dealers, but what have we learned about the art market at this year’s Art Basel, in its original Swiss home? The Art Newspaper’s acting art market editor, Tim Schneider, tells us about the big sales in Switzerland amid the wider market picture. The journalist Lynn Barber has a new book out, called A Little Art Education, in which she reflects on her encounters with artists from Salvador Dalí to Tracey Emin. We talk to her about the highs and lows of several decades of artist interviews. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Woman Leaning on a Portfolio (1799) by Guillaume Lethière. Lethiére was born in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean to a plantation-owner father and an enslaved mother, but eventually became one of the most notable painters of his period in France and beyond. We talk to Esther Bell and Olivier Meslay, the curators of a major survey of Lethière’s work opening this week at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, US, and travelling later in the year to the Louvre in Paris.Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland, until Sunday, 16 June.A Little Art Education by Lynn Barber, Cheerio, £15 (hb).Guillaume Lethière, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, US,15 June-14 October; Musée du Louvre, Paris, 13 November-17 February 2025
  • Georgia O’Keeffe’s New York, Studio Voltaire at 30, Martha Jungwirth responds to Goya

    This week: we explore the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition dedicated to what Georgia O’Keeffe called her New Yorks—paintings of skyscrapers and views from one of them across the East River, which marked a turning point in her career. Sarah Kelly Oehler, one of the curators of the show, tells us more. One of the most distinctive of all London’s contemporary art spaces, Studio Voltaire, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and has begun a fundraising drive to consolidate its future, with a gala dinner this week and a Christie’s auction later this month. We talk to the chair of Studio Voltaire’s trustees and a non-executive director of Frieze, Victoria Siddall, about the anniversary and the precarious funding landscape, even for the UK’s most dynamic non-profits. And this episode’s Work of the Week is an untitled painting from the Austrian painter Martha Jungwirth’s 2022 series Francisco de Goya, Still Life with Ribs and Lamb’s Head. Based on a work by the Spanish master in the Louvre in Paris, Jungwirth’s painting features in a new survey of her work that has just opened at the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain. We speak to its curator, Lekha Hileman Waitoller.Georgia O’Keeffe: My New Yorks, Art Institute of Chicago, until 22 September; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, from 25 October-16 February 2025.The date of XXX, as the sale of works to benefit Studio Voltaire at Christie’s is called, is yet to be confirmed. Check the organisations’ websites for updates; Beryl Cook/Tom of Finland, Studio Voltaire, London, until 25 August.Martha Jungwirth, Guggenheim Bilbao, until 22 September.
  • Art’s AI reckoning, the rise of comic art, and Degas’ Miss La La

    The publication in April of Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Index Annual Report has provided the art world with much food for thought. We look at the implications for artists and institutions with Louis Jebb, the managing editor of The Art Newspaper and our technology specialist. As the Centre Pompidou in Paris is taken over on all its floors by what it calls the “ninth art”—graphic novels and comics—we talk to Joel Meadows, the editor-in-chief of Tripwire magazine and a comics aficionado, about the rise of this subculture in museums and the market. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Edgar Degas’ Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando (1879), which depicts a Black circus performer, Anna Albertine Olga Brown, who was briefly known as Miss La La. She and the painting are the subject of a new exhibition at the National Gallery in London opening next week. We talk to Anne Robbins, the curator of paintings at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and external curator of the exhibition, and Sterre Overmars, the curatorial fellow for post-1800 paintings at the National Gallery, about the painting.Comics on Every Floor, Centre Pompidou, Paris, until 4 November.Discover Degas & Miss La La, National Gallery, London, 6 June-1 September. 
  • Tate’s historic women artists show, Dia at 50, Martin Wong’s record-breaking painting

    We take a tour of Tate Britain’s new exhibition, Now You See Us, featuring more than 100 women artists who worked between the 16th and 20th centuries, with Tabitha Barber, its curator. The Dia Art Foundation has reached its half century and its director, Jessica Morgan, tells us how it has changed in that time, and especially how it has radically expanded the range of artists it shows and collects. We also discuss the new commission at Dia Beacon by Steve McQueen. And this episode’s Work of the Week is one of the few record-breaking paintings in a relatively middling auction week in New York: Martin Wong’s Portrait of Mikey Piñero at Ridge Street and Stanton (1985), which sold for more than $1.6m (with fees) on Tuesday evening at Christie’s. Barry Blinderman, who sold the work in 1985 from his Semaphore gallery in New York, tells us more about the painting and the extraordinary circumstances of its making.Now You See Us: Women Artists in Britain 1520-1920, Tate Britain, London, until 13 October.Steve McQueen: Bass, Dia Beacon, until 12 May 2025.
  • Gaza: artists’ stories, Frank Stella remembered, Vanessa Bell’s garden view

    We talk to The Art Newspaper’s reporter Sarvy Geranpayeh about her conversations with six Palestinian artists about their daily lives amid Israel’s ongoing military offensive in Gaza. Frank Stella, one of the key artists in the history of American abstraction, has died, aged 87. We speak to Bonnie Clearwater, the director and chief curator of the NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who worked with Stella on two landmark shows. And as Spring finally arrives in London, this episode’s Work of the Week is, fittingly, Vanessa Bell’s View into a Garden (1926). It features in an exhibition opening next week at the Garden Museum in London, called Gardening Bohemia: Bloomsbury Women Outdoors. Emma House, the curator at the museum, tells me more.Glory of the World: Color Field Painting (1950s to 1983), NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, US, until 25 August. Frank Stella: Recent Sculpture, Deitch Projects, New York, until 24 May.Gardening Bohemia: Bloomsbury Women Outdoors, Garden Museum, London, 15 May-29 September.
  • Should UK museums charge for entry? Plus, Michelangelo’s last decades and Maria Blanchard

    After years of decreasing public funding, the lingering effects of the Covid pandemic and enduring questions around the ethics of corporate sponsorship, UK museums are facing unprecedented financial pressures. Some commentators are suggesting that the time has come to abandon the policy of free admission to museums that is viewed by many as key to the cultural fabric of the UK. Among those arguing for charging is the critic and broadcaster Ben Lewis, who joins Ben Luke to discuss the issue. This week, the British Museum opened the exhibition Michelangelo: the Last Decades. It focuses on the period after 1534, when Michelangelo left his native Florence for Rome, never to return, and embarked on many of his most ambitious projects. We take a tour of the show with its curator, Sarah Vowles. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Maria Blanchard’s Girl at Her First Communion (1914). The painting features in a new exhibition at the Museo Picasso in Málaga. Its curator, José Lebrero Stals, tells us more about this underappreciated Spanish artist, who was at the heart of the Parisian avant garde in the 1910s and 20s.Michelangelo: the Last Decades, British Museum, until 28 July.María Blanchard: A Painter in Spite of Cubism, Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain, until 29 September.LAST CHANCE subscription offer: subscribe for as little as 50p per week for digital and £1 per week for print and digital, or the equivalent in your currency. Visit to find out more.
  • Klimt’s last picture sells for €35m, Rebecca Horn, a Cézanne restored

    The last painting made by Gustav Klimt, left on his easel when he died in 1918 of illnesses relating to the Spanish flu epidemic of that year, has sold at auction in Vienna for €35m including fees. But much remains unclear about the picture, including its sitter, its commissioner and what happened to it in the Second World War. Ben Luke talks to Catherine Hickley, The Art Newspaper’s museums editor, about whether this murky provenance contributed to its relatively low price for a Klimt in the saleroom. A retrospective of the pioneering German artist Rebecca Horn opens this week at the Haus der Kunst in Munich, and we talk to Jana Baumann, its co-curator, about the show. And this episode’s Work of the Week is Mont Sainte Victoire, one of dozens of paintings made by Paul Cézanne of the towering limestone peak near Aix-en-Provence in France. Painted in 1886-87, it is in the collection of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Elizabeth Steele, the Phillips’s Head of Conservation, describes how she revealed the painting from a century of discoloured varnish and dust as it goes on view in the exhibition Up Close with Paul Cezanne, which is at the Phillips until 14 July.Rebecca Horn, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, 26 April-13 OctoberUp Close with Paul Cezanne, Phillips Collection, Washington D.C., until 14 July.Subscription offer: subscribe to The Art Newspaper for as little as 50p per week for digital and £1 per week for print and digital, or the equivalent in your currency. Visit to find out more.
  • Venice Biennale special

    We are back in Venice for the latest edition of the biggest biennial in the world of art. The 60th Venice Biennale comprises an international exhibition featuring more than 300 artists, dozens of national pavilions in the Giardini—the gardens at the eastern end of the city—and the Arsenale—the historic shipyards of the Venetian Republic—and host of official collateral exhibitions and other shows and interventions across Venice. The Art Newspaper’s contemporary art correspondent, Louisa Buck, editor-at-large Jane Morris and host Ben Luke review the international exhibition, Foreigners Everywhere/Stranieri Ovunque, curated by the Brazilian artistic director, Adriano Pedrosa. We talk to artists and curators behind five national pavilions—Jeffrey Gibson in the US pavilion, John Akomfrah in the British pavilion, Romuald Hazoumè in the Benin pavilion, Gustavo Caboco Wapichana, the curator of the Hãhãwpuá or Brazilian pavilion, and Valeria Montii Colque in the Chilean pavilion—about their presentations. And we like to end our Venice specials by responding to an example of the historic work that made la Serenissima one of the world’s great centres for art. So for this episode’s Work of the Week, Ben Luke gained exclusive access to one of the most significant paintings in Venetian history: the Assunta or Assumption of the Virgin made between 1516 and 1518 by Titian. Since the last Biennale in 2022, the Assunta has been unveiled after a four-year conservation project, funded by the charity Save Venice. We spoke to the man who restored this incomparable masterpiece, Giulio Bono, right beneath Titian’s painting.The Venice Biennale, 20 April-24 November. Listen to the interview with Adriano Pedrosa in the episode of this podcast from 2 February.The website that Giulio Bono mentions, which will present the findings of the conservation of Titian’s Assunta in detail, will go online later this year.Save Venice, offer: subscribe to The Art Newspaper for as little as 50p per week for digital and £1 per week for print or the equivalent in your currency. Visit to find out more.