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Alice in Wonderland, Tatlin's Tower and Action Man – the week in art

From shows offering an escape from Christmas to the most beautiful gifts of all time, here is the art not to miss this week

Five exhibitions to escape from Christmas shopping

Alice in Wonderland
Children and adults alike can enter the enchanted and surreal world of Alice at the Albert Dock this Christmas.
• At Tate Liverpool until 29 January 2012

Re-creating Tatlin's Tower
If you are in London's West End and feel very, very sick of the Christmas commercialism visit the Royal Academy, where a reconstruction of the spiralling abstract tower designed by Vladimir Tatlin serves as a reminder of the communist dream. Imagine no possessions.
• At Royal Academy, London W1 until 29 January 2012

Modello for a Statue of Hebe
Close to Christmas shopping's dark heart, London's Oxford Street, you can escape into a world of ormolu fripperies and Fragonard paintings at the magical Wallace Collection. It is free, as is this display of a sensual nude by Canova.
• At Wallace Collection, London W1 until 16 April 2012

Ford Madox Brown
The Victorians invented Christmas as we know it and here is an artist who captured both the realities and fantasies of 19th-century Britons.
• At Manchester Art Gallery until 29 January 2012

Magic Worlds
I love this exhibition which genuinely has delights for all the family, with exhibits ranging from Harry Potter toys to Albrecht Dürer prints.
• At Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London E2 until 4 March 2012

Five incredible Christmas presents (luxuries and toys that made it into art museums)

Action Man, Palitoy, 1970s
OK, OK. Action Man was my favourite toy and they have his tank here, too. But every child and grown-up will find toys to coo over in this lovely museum.
• At Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London E2

The Morelli-Nerli chests, Tuscany, 1400s
Among the most splendid luxuries in Florentine Renaissance palaces were gilded and painted chests made for newly-weds. Two of the best-preserved of these fairytale objects are in London's Courtauld Gallery.
• At Courtauld Gallery, London WC2

The Royal Gold Cup, made in Paris, France c1370-80
If the Magi really wanted to impress they might have given the newborn this astonishingly rich Gothic treasure. It is like an attempt to recreate the Holy Grail, whose legend was so central to the chivalric literature of medieval France.
• At British Museum, London WC1

Baffo Harpsichord, made in Italy, 1574
If you are looking for the ultimate gift and have limitless funds ... you still won't be able to buy anything like this. Unless one came up at Christie's I suppose. But let's not think about that. This musical instrument is painted with beautiful delicate designs and once played tinkling notes to accompany sweet voices in candlelit palaces.
• At V&A Museum, London SW7

The Silver Swan, 1773
This popular object is a musical automaton with a mechanism by the British inventor John Joseph Merlin, a famous 18th-century ideas man who was portrayed by Gainsborough. It compares with the luxuries of the Tsars in the Winter Palace and, in 19th-century Paris, it impressed Mark Twain. A glittering legend.
• At Bowes Museum, County Durham

What we learned this week

Protesters may prove to bring down the Tate-BP partnership

Why John Berger got it all wrong about Cézanne

What happened when photographer Mark Laita brought together polygamists and pimps

How Helen Chadwick developed the unique methodology for her Piss Flowers

Why Tracey Emin is officially top draw

Image of the week

Your Art Weekly

@rachelguthrie8: @Gdnartanddesign Shaw's 'Scenes from the Passion' series is romantically clothed in factors unfactual: memories, feelings+fantasy #artweekly

Have you seen any of these shows? What have you enjoyed this week? Give your review in the comments below or tweet us your verdict using #artweekly and we'll publish the best ones.

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