Exhibition of the week: Jonas Mekas
The film-maker Jonas Mekas has been a hero of the New York art scene since the 1960s. He is not just an underground film-maker but the organiser and orchestrator of an entire cultural movement of alternative cinema that transformed ways of making art 50 years ago and still resonates today. Mekas helped Andy Warhol to become a film-maker and provided a personal record of Warhol and other avant garde figures, as well as of New York, in his own film diaries. Back then it seemed a strange idea for artists to make deadpan visual records of real life. Today the radical idea of everyday cinema that Mekas pioneered is everywhere in art galleries. Here is an artist who has truly shaped our time.
• Serpentine Gallery, London W2 until 27 January 2013
Other exhibitions this week
Rituals of the New Year are given a fantastical kitsch twist by Japan’s art pop star in a proper seasonal show.
• Royal Academy, London W1S from 13 December until 17 February 2013
This exhibition offers subversive meditations on portraiture involving mirrors and “pixel portraits”.
• Ingelby Gallery, Edinburgh EH8 until 22 December
Masterpiece of the week
Still Life with Apples and a Pomegranate (1871-72) by Gustave Courbet
This painting is a crabbed, shadowy, gnarled thing that lodges in the mind and never leaves. Like an ugly memory, it haunts and troubles me. Courbet was being persecuted for his politics – he was a leader of the Paris Commune – when he painted this. It has his pain deeply encrusted into every apple skin.
• National Gallery, London WC2N
Image of the week
What we learned this week
And finally …
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010