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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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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?