Landscapes of Obama’s portrait painter and 17,000 hand-painted flowers – art week | Art

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Exhibition of the week

Kehinde Wiley
Barack Obama’s official portrait painter responds to the National Gallery’s landscape paintings with video art and five new canvases.
National Gallery, London, until April 18

Also showing

Pictet Prize
Christian Marclay, Sally Mann, Carla Rippey and others showcase fire-themed photographs.
V&A, London from December 16 to January 9

Josef albers
The first works of this legendary abstract artist show him as an expressionist of the human figure.
Cristea Roberts Gallery, London from December 10 to January 22

Suzanne Lacy
Socially engaged art on themes ranging from youth to the work prospects of older women in Manchester.
Whitworth, Manchester until April 10

Zadock Ben David
An installation with over 17,000 hand-painted flowers is featured in this exhibition on our relationship with nature.
Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens, London until March 27

Image of the week

A Lawrence Weiner retrospective in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 2008. Photograph: Federico Gambarini / EPA

American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner has died at age 79 of cancer. Weiner had an absolute contempt for commercialism and used words as the main material. Read the full story here.

What we have learned

Concept art pioneer Lawrence Weiner has died aged 79

MC Escher gave Mick Jagger no satisfaction, but helped a Nobel laureate with his theory of the cosmos

A hidden sketch by Rembrandt was discovered under the painting of his most famous work

Statue that sparked deadly protests in Charlottesville, Va. To be cast for new public artwork

Exhibition featuring three Asian American artists hailed as a revelation

US billionaire handed over 180 looted and illegally smuggled antiques worth $ 70 million

29-year-old Midlands artist invites visitors to her show to experience the moment in an explosion of vibrant color

How René Magritte’s high sensitivity transformed the understanding of the world of images

Sudanese artists fight to maintain freedom of expression after recent coup

RIBA’s Royal Gold Medal awarded to India’s most acclaimed architect, Balkrishna Doshi

Manchester exhibit pays homage to Derek Jarman’s multiple and contradictory talents

For the first time, a split decision saw three artists win Australia’s richest art award

Moscow’s response to Tate Modern opened with a painstaking recreation of the American soap opera Santa Barbara

Portraits of residents of North Omaha reveal the impact of white supremacy on black lives …

… and the work of forgotten Japanese American photographers has long been recognized

Masterpiece of the week

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Rembrandt, c1652.
Photography: The British Museum

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Rembrandt, c1652
Has a Nativity painting ever been as expressive and moving as this miraculous etching? The cozy stable scene has given way to a much harsher and harsher reality. A group of humble and deferential shepherds come out of the night to greet a baby Jesus huddled under blankets by a seemingly homeless mother. Rembrandt frees himself with black ink to create nuances and depths of nocturnal mystery. The figures emerge in a rough lumpen humanity from this darkness. A lantern really seems to glow, just by contrast. Every face, in shadow or light, holds your heart in such a marvelous representation of a fragile humanity as there is in art.
British Museum, London

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