The Iranian banksy, bonkers bridges and Slinky beards – the week in art

Impressionism is back, wild designs are unveiled for a new bridge across the Thames, Banksy returns to Gaza, and street artist Medhi Ghadyanloo’s eye-popping murals make Tehran smile – all in your weekly art dispatch

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Exhibition of the Week

Inventing Impressionism
This exhibition explores the rise of the first modern art movement through the unusual perspective of the way it was marketed by pioneering art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel. It’s the beginning of the art world as we know it.
National Gallery, London, from 4 March until 31 May.

Other exhibitions this week

Leonora Carrington
The surrealist movement was one of the first to fully unleash women as artists, and Carrington’s paintings are a window on its mythologies and dreams.
Tate Liverpool from 6 March until 31 May.

Alex Katz
A superb group of new Black Paintings by this magical artist.
Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, from 28 February until 2 April.

Mehdi Ghadyanloo
The first British exhibition, in the gallery and on the streets, for the Banksy of Tehran.
Howard Griffin Gallery, London, from 26 February until 2 April.

Cathy Wilkes
A contemporary surrealist of everyday stuff complements Tate Liverpool’s historical show of surrealist painting.
Tate Liverpool from 6 March until 31 May.

Masterpiece of the week

The Arbadil Carpet, c1540, by an Iranian master, at London's V&A Museum.
The Arbadil Carpet, c1540, by an Iranian master, at London’s V&A Museum. Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty

 

Maqsud Kashani – The Arbadil Carpet (1539-40 AD: Islamic calendar 946)
One of the V&A’s great treasures, this is the oldest-dated carpet in the world. It is also one of the biggest and most stupendously beautiful, an intricate abstract masterpiece. It was made in 16th century Iran and signed by Maqsud Kashani, who describes himself in his inscription as “the slave of the portal”.
V&A, London SW7

Image of the week

Sisters Anita, five, and Sonia Singh, 12, explore a world of light after having operations to correct cataracts in West Bengal, India. The image, by South African photographer Brent Stirton, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Sony world photographic awards
Sisters Anita, five, and Sonia Singh, 12, explore a world of light after having operations to correct cataracts – which they both had as a result of congenital disease. The operations were provided through donor funding. Previously, the girls – from West Bengal, India – had to accompany their parents everywhere for fear of coming to harm if left alone. The image, by South African photographer Brent Stirton, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Sony world photographic awards. Photograph: Brent Stirton

What we learned this week

The artistic feats that can be achieved with facial hair, a Slinky and some dried spaghetti

That a stolen Picasso worth at least $2.5m was posted to New York by FedEx in a parcel marked “Happy Christmas”

A kitten plays with a ball of mangled steel, in a  mural painted by Banksy in the Palestinian town of Beit Hanun, on the Gaza Strip.
A kitten plays with a ball of mangled steel, in a mural painted by Banksy in the Palestinian town of Beit Hanun, on the Gaza Strip. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

That Banksy has been back to Gaza

Meanwhile…we met Tehran’s answer to Banksy

About Waqas Khan, the Pakistani artist setting the art world alight with his Sufi-inspired dot paintings

We got a first glimpse of the wild designs being proposed for a new bridge across the Thames

About the women making art out of murder scenes

Revealed: the artist distributing hand-drawn copies of the Guardian