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Malevich, Tate Modern, London
The perfect Tate Modern retrospective. Dispensing with imagery, colour, composition, “Black Square” dismantled painting’s historic parameters at one swoop in 1915. No painter is a more significant influence than Malevich on the 20th-century trajectory – abstraction, minimalism, conceptualism – which Tate Modern strives to define. At the same time none is more elusive, unpredictable, contradictory. With stellar loans, this exhibition explores the Russian artist at full range – cubo-futurist experiments, suprematist masterpieces, stage designs, the controversial return to depictions of faceless peasants – against a background of revolution and Soviet oppression.
tate.org.uk, 020 7887 8888, to October 26
Mondrian and his Studios and Carlos Cruz-Diez, Dazzle Ship, Tate Liverpool
Tate’s exploration of the beginnings of abstraction continues with this excellent exhibition focused on the grid works in primary colours on beautifully textured white grounds from the later part of Mondrian’s career. The show, which also includes a recreation of the Dutch master’s Paris studio, looks across Albert Dock to Carlos Cruz-Diez’s “Dazzle Ship”, commissioned for the first world war’s centenary and echoing dazzle designs used to camouflage war vessels. Mondrian’s paintings, especially the great 1920s “Tableau” series, with crystalline blue or red bursting from black-framed corners, wonderfully respond to Cruz-Diez’s bright hues gleaming on the water.
tate.org.uk, 0151 702 7400, to October 5. The ship remains on view until the end of 2015
Disobedient Objects, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
A graffiti-writing robot; giant inflatable cobblestones; handappliquéd protest banners; discarded bicycles welded with audio equipment; finger puppets lampooning the Assad regime in Syria, Black Panther jewellery and Guerrilla Girls masks: the V&A’s free summer exhibition explores how design is created by grassroots social movements as a tool of change.
vam.ac.uk, 020 7942 2000, to February 1
Yana Naidenov, Josh Lilley Gallery, London
Naidenov works with rammed paper pulp to create solid-looking yet somehow airy abstract sculptures of leaning forms that evoke a mood of instability and architecture on the edge: abandoned brutalist projects, collapsed building sites, coastal bunkers. The promising Mozambique-born sculptor graduated last year from the Royal College of Art.
joshlilleygallery.com, 020 7580 5677, to August 30
Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilisation, Tate Britain, London
Period reconstructions evoke English taste in the art historian’s Edwardian youth – Landseer, Beardsley, Japanese prints – and the 1930s-1940s, when he collected and jumbled displays of renaissance and impressionist paintings, Coptic textiles, German silver as a “rearguard action” against modernism. Paradoxes – how an elitist democratised art as National Gallery director and broadcaster; why Clark had brilliant historical insights but failed to understand art in his own time – make this show thought-provoking if nostalgic. Final fortnight.
tate.org.uk, 020 7887 8888, to August 10