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The acclaimed artist said he told London Mayor Boris Johnson to solve the city's housing crisis

Simon Carr: Big Brother considers surveillance his right

We all agree there is something new happening in Britain. DNA databases, surveillance cameras, intrusions into private lives, restrictions on liberties. Every week, we take another step into the brave new world. From last week, protesting outside nuclear power stations is illegal. It's a new world all right.

Hirst's £50m skull? It's no more than a 'decorative object'

When Damien Hirst unveiled a diamond-encrusted human skull worth £50m, his fans hailed it as a haunting work of genius which fully deserved to become the most expensive piece of contemporary art ever made.

All about my mother: the visual tributes from top artists

For centuries, artists have turned to their mothers for creative inspiration. John Lennon wrote anguished lyrics about his, the Spanish film-maker Pedro Almodovar dedicated at least one film to his and the artist Whistler captured his in an iconic painting.

The loo that shook the world: Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabi

In 1917, nobody imagined that an act of rebellion by a young French painter would change the face of art. As Marcel Duchamp’s notorious ‘Fountain’ takes centre stage at Tate Modern, Philip Hensher stands up for the power of the porcelain

Illuminated gospels tell the craftsman's tale

An exhibition of church windows challenges the notion that craft is the poor relation of fine art - but ultimately reinforces it

Howard Hodgkin: Bold, unconventional and uncompromising

Bold, unconventional and uncompromising, Howard Hodgkin was once regarded as a marginal figure in British art. More than half a century later, and still refining his style, he has become one of the true giants of contemporary painting. On the eve of his first major retrospective, Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, explores the artist's unique vision - and its dazzling energy

The eyebrows have it for new penguin species

In a world full of disappearing or threatened species, here is some good news at last. The planet is about to welcome a new species of penguin.

Turner Prize winner charts his insecurities in pottery

Grayson Perry's first exhibition since winning the Turner Prize picks up where he left off when he collected the accolade dressed as his female alter ego, Claire.

Design: Nicely brought up but badly behaved

You thought the 1890s were the very last word in decadence, but our own fin-de-siecle is doing pretty well, too - going out in a flurry of disembodied hands, necklaces made of mock Viagra tablets, 60-channel television and an epidemic of hype.

Hand-crafted irony: Grayson Perry's polite pots are smooth, charming and, on closer examination, downright offensive. Robin Dutt admires his cheek

Shock as art tactic is nothing new. In fact, it is increasingly becoming the staple of several artists. But shock and subtlety - now that's something more enjoyable.
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Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests