The underlying tragedy of this show is hidden in its tiny span of time, from Self-portrait with a dark felt hat (1886) painted in Paris, in the end Self-portrait with a palette (1889), produced when Van Gogh was ill at the Saint-Paul asylum in Provence. In the self-portraits, the artist experiments with technique and color; in their variety, they suggest how unknowable a face is, even to its owner.
February 3-May 8, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Bourgeois had a career in stages, encompassing breaks for motherhood, psychoanalysis and the vagaries of fashion. A retrospective at MoMA in 1980 – when this remarkable artist was 70 – invigorated her and she produced extraordinary art over the next three decades. His textile work 0 suspended sculptures resembling bodies; embroidery panels; cages filled with Freudian quirks – are from this era and form the center of this show.
February 9-May 15, Hayward Gallery, London
This art rebel has long pushed for valuable and knowledgeable ideas – why does the breaking of an antique vase attract more attention than human rights violations? At Kettle’s Yard, he probes the idea of authenticity, exploring Chinese and European traditions of copies and reproductions. Along with his skill at asking embarrassing questions, it will be interesting to see how Ai (an architect as much as an artist) responds to this evocative and atmospheric house.
February 12-June 19, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge
Mega-delayed exhibition for the preeminent painter of the High Renaissance. Five-star loans pour in from the largest museums in the world, the better to marvel at the gentle serenity of Raphael’s Madonnas, her bodies loaded with lively musculature, and complex and enveloping compositions.
April 9-July 31, National Gallery, London
The Japanese-American artist has created sculptures from the most bare materials – undulating volumes of crochet wire, spindly geometric shards reminiscent of desert plants, thin metal folded like origami. She also had an extraordinary life and was a major promoter of creative education in the United States. Go and be inspired.
May 28-August 21, Modern Art Oxford
The great South African artist will fill the Royal Academy with his haunting hand-drawn animations, spectacular cinematic stagings, drawings and sculptures, all meditating on individual life within his troubled history. country. There will be music. And tears (probably mine.)
September 24-December 11, Royal Academy, London