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Esther Pearl Watson – interview: ‘I really search out moments of awkward humour’

The Los Angeles-based painter presents an offbeat world that reflects on a distinctly American kind of idealism

Esther Pearl Watson. MOTHERSHIP, exhibition view, Maureen Paley, London, 2019. © Esther Pearl Watson, courtesy Maureen Paley, London.
AlanJames Burns, Creswell Crags Cave, Worksop, 2019. Photo: Martin Kennedy.
Burns guides us around the cave where his latest installation is taking place and explains that, historically, caves have played a vital role in the simultaneous evolution of consciousness and creativity.
Fiona Tan: Disorient, installation view, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, 2019. Photo: Ruth Clarke.
Tan’s two-screen video installation is an unsettling look at the legacy of colonialism and a stark reminder that the west’s sense of superiority still persists.
David Batchelor, 2019. Photo: Lucy Dawkins. Courtesy of the Artist and Ingleby, Edinburgh.
Batchelor’s playful exploration of colour through sculpture, installation and painting pays tribute to the original Bauhaus movement while cleverly subverting it.
David Wojnarowicz with Tom Warren, Self-Portrait of David Wojnarowicz, 1983–84. Acrylic and collaged paper on gelatin silver print, 152.4 × 101.6 cm. Collection of Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich. Photograph courtesy Museo Reina Sofia.
A comprehensive survey of the impassioned American artist and writer proves his relevance then and now, without stinting from the lows – as well as the highs – of his prodigious output.
Fra Angelico. Annunciation and Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden, c1425–26. Tempera and gold on panel, 190.3 x 191.5 cm. Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado.
An exquisite exhibition at the Prado reveals the most joyous and serene of Italian artists as a pivotal figure in the development of the Renaissance.
Bertille Bak. Faire le mur, 2008. Video 4:3 stereo, 17 mins, set photography. Production Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains. Courtesy Bretelle Bak / Le Fresnoy
At the Merz Foundation in Turin, on the occasion of its third art prize, Bertille Bak reflects on a Romany community living on the periphery in Paris.
Heike-Karin Föll, my brain, 2010–19. Installation view (detail), Speed. KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2019. Photo: Frank Sperling.
In her first institutional solo show, the German artist plays on the fast fickleness of commodification, trend and fashion.
Ima-Abasi Okon, Infinite Slippage: nonRepugnant Insolvencies T!-a!-r!-r!-y!-i!-n!-g! as Hand Claps of M’s Hard’Loved’Flesh [I’M irreducibly-undone because] —Quantum Leanage-Complex-Dub, 2019. Installation view, Chisenhale Gallery, 2019. Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery, London. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate.
Old air-conditioning units, poor-quality ceiling tiles coated with ultrasound gel and gold – the utilitarian and the precious come together in Okon’s fascinating installations.
Leo Warner, director of 59 Productions.
Warner, design director of multimedia visual artists and impresarios 59 Productions talks about collaborative creativity, working across global as well as technical boundaries, sources of inspiration and how technology should always be subservient to the story.
Patrick Staff: The Prince of Homburg, installation view, Dundee Contemporary Arts, 2019. Photo: Ruth Clark.
Through video installation, sculpture and printmaking, Staff uses a play from 1810 as a vehicle to explore queerness and sexual identity in today’s world.
Dóra Maurer. Seven Twists V 1979, printed 2011. Gelatin silver print on paper, 20.5 × 20.5 cm. Tate © Dóra Maurer.
This is a fascinating insight into the joyous experimental work of this Hungarian-born artist, who started out by subverting the cultural policy of her country’s socialist regime  .
Roger Palmer. Photo: Ellen Elmendorp.
Following an exhibition based on Robinson Crusoe and a new book of photographs of South Africa’s disused railway lines, Palmer’s latest projects are on Irish independence and Russia’s Kronstadt Mutiny. He explains how he chooses his subjects.
Image courtesy Nicoline van Harskamp.
Van Harskamp is a woman obsessed by language. Here she talks about people’s names, what she calls “linguistic biographies” and how languages evolve as people from different places speak them.
Part of Sol LeWitt Lignes en quatre directions et toutes leurs combinaisons, Bordeaux, Capc Musée d’art contemporain, 1983.
An exhibition of artists’ books, including works by Yves Klein, Andy Warhol and Thomas Hirschhorn, unfolds in three chapters.
Michael Landy. Mate, what’s this shit?, 2019. Ink on paper, 35 x 84.1 cm (13 3/4 x 33 1/8 in). © Michael Landy. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery.
The sociologically inclined Landy is creating an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Kaldor Public Art Projects. He discusses the challenges of reviving archival ghosts, his enduring fascination with artistic failures, and Kaldor’s doggedness in realising his ambitious scheme.
Leila Heller on opening night of her new gallery space at 17 East 76th Street.
Gallerist Leila Heller talks about showing Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the 1980s, after meeting them in New York clubs, promoting artists from the Middle East, her current show curated by Warhol’s muse – and why she has just moved her gallery back to where it all began.
Serpentine Pavilion 2019, designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photo © 2019 Iwan Baan.
Perhaps this is an idea that looked good on paper, but with its dark slate roof and unstable-looking structure, Junya Ishigami’s pavilion is oppressive and unwelcoming.
Andermatt Concert Hall. Photo © Roland Halbe.
The Andermatt Concert Hall is a world-class auditorium, the first in the Swiss Alps, designed by architect Christina Seilern to help transform this former army town into a new destination for culture, as well as sport and tourism.
Alberto Giacometti in his studio, 1960. Photo: Rene Burri/Magnum Photos.
This remarkable show traces Giacometti’s artistic career, displaying his works alongside those of some of his contemporaries and making clear his belief that drawing was the basis of everything.
Maryam Najd at the opening of Botanic: National Amalgamation Project, Arthur M Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology at Peking University, 2019. Photo: Arthur M. Sackler Museum.
Iranian artist Maryam Najd talks about her exhibition at the Arthur M Sackler Museum of Art and Archaeology in Beijing and why she chose to embark on a project researching the national flowers of the world.
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