The state of painting now

Plus, its enduring market appeal and new secrets revealed in a restored Vermeer

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Mohammed Sami, Refugee Camp (2020) © The artist, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Modern Art, London.

Mohammed Sami, Refugee Camp (2020) © The artist, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Modern Art, London.

The Week in Art

From breaking news and insider insights to exhibitions and events around the world, the team at The Art Newspaper picks apart the art world’s big stories with the help of special guests. An award-winning podcast hosted by Ben Luke, The Week in Art is sponsored by Christie’s.

As a huge survey of contemporary painting opens at the Hayward Gallery in London, we ask: is the time-honoured medium of painting the art form best suited to exploring the complexity of our age?

We look at the thriving and diverse contemporary painting scene in the UK and explore the Hayward director Ralph Rugoff’s suggestion that this ancient medium “seems like the best technology there could possibly be for reflecting on what it's like to live in a culture where image is the primary currency it is”. We talk to two emerging artists in that show: Baghdad-born Mohammed Sami and Beijing-born Vivien Zhang, who are both based in London. We meet Doron Langberg, the Brooklyn-based painter, and discuss his latest work reflecting on queer desire and identity and landscape as a space of mourning. And we ask art advisor Lisa Schiff, founder of SFA advisory, about paintings and collectors.

Doron Langberg in front of In My Lap (2021) © Nir Arieli

And in this episode’s Work of the Week, we explore a newly restored canvas by one of the greatest of all painters, Johannes Vermeer—Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (around 1657-59) has just been unveiled in its full glory for the first time in centuries at Dresden’s Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, fully revealing a hidden image of Cupid, painted by Vermeer but painted over by someone else. And we hear about new research on the painting. Plus, the latest big stories in the world of art and heritage.

Vermeer’s Girl reading a Letter at an Open Window (1657-59), fully restored Courtesy of SKD

The Week in Art podcast by The Art Newspaper is available every Friday on our website and all the usual places where you find podcasts. This podcast is sponsored by Christie's.

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