Private View held by Richard Andrews
Shinto: The Sacred Art Of Ancient Japan presents ancient art and artefacts of Shinto - the way of the kami - the indigenous religious beliefs of Japan. The kami are gods of nature, some nameless and others personified in a mythological hierarchy, together with deified ancestral and historical figures. They were believed to reside in mountains, trees, rivers, rocks, waterfalls and other natural places. Worship of the kami expresses gratitude towards them and aims to secure their continued favour. The exhibition, which includes previously unseen works from the Imperial collection, examines the arts that were characteristic of Shinto during the Heian and Kamakura periods from the 8th to 14th centuries AD. By this time Buddhism and Shinto were amalgamated within Japanese religious beliefs and practices. A custom of installing the Three Sacred Treasures - sword, mirror and jewel - in shrines as spiritual vehicles of the kami, became common. Wooden masks were used for ritual dramas in temples and shrines. The most important of these dramas was kagura (kami enjoyment), from which Noh theatre developed. The exhibition also looks at the mysterious ritual beliefs from which Shinto evolved, drawing on archaeological evidence from Japanese prehistory. British Museum until 2nd December.
Andy Warhol: Cars are the cycle of pictures on which Warhol was working at the time of his death in 1987. They document the history of the car by tracing a century of Mercedes-Benz designs. Of the 80 pictures planned, 36 paintings and 13 drawings, featuring 8 different models, were completed. 28 of these, made between 1986 and 1987, are on display in Britain for the first time. The subjects include the earliest three-wheeler Benz of 1886, a Mercedes touring car from the 1920s, a classic 1937 racing car, coupes and Formula 1 cars from the 1950s, and an experimental Mercedes-Benz from 1970. This is the only one of Warhol's picture series in which he featured a non-American product. The pictures employ his silkscreen printing technique of image production, and his trademark style of replicating the chosen images in multiples. There is Family Day on Saturday 15th September with free car related activities throughout the day. Milton Keynes Gallery from 8th to 23rd September.
Mind The Gap is a collection of quirky images of the London Underground system created by photographer Simon James. He captures the unusual and often unnoticed architectural details of the stations, trains and equipment to be found at the ends of the Tube lines. Since these locations are generally in the country, James presents a remarkably serine environment, quite at odds with the hurly burly of the everyday experience of using the system in the city centre. Tom Blau Gallery, Butler's Wharf London SE1 020 7940 9171 until 6th October.
Nike - Design For Movement salutes the inventor of the trainer Bill Bowerman, the company's co-founder, who poured liquid rubber into his waffle iron and changed the course of human history. Inspiration struck in the 1970s while Bowerman was seeking a way to create a sole that would give runners more traction yet still be lightweight. The grid like sole continues to be the basis of all trainers made today. This exhibition traces design innovations in movement of all kinds from the waffle sole onwards, including collaboration with NASA, Cathy Freeman's Olympic Swift Suit, the Formula 1 car inspired Shox, the Michael Johnson Gold shoe, and the Jordan range. Design Museum until 30th September.
Experiment Experiencia: Art In Brazil 1958-2000 endeavours to capture the spirit of experimentation and dynamism of Brazilian art in the second half of the 20th century. Its vibrancy and colour is expressed in paintings, sculpture, film and installation by three generations of artists. Early abstract experiments of the Brazilian avant-garde led by Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica moved outside the frame to embrace 3-D constructions suspended from the ceiling and audience participation - including performances by children from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. In the 1960s and 1970s the work of artists such as Antonio Dias and Antonio Manuel became increasingly politicised in the repressive years of military dictatorship. The diverse art of recent times includes Jose Damasceno's floating black suit and Lygia Pape's curtain of ripening bananas (you had to be there). Museum Of Modern Art, Oxford until 21st October.
The Beautiful And The Damned: The Creation Of Identity In 19th Century Photography looks at the social and cultural context of the development of the new medium of portrait photography from 1860 to 1900. The origins of the celebrity portrait, and the vogue for carte-de-visite - a small photographic portrait mounted on a piece of card - fuelled a fashion for collecting and classifying photographs of the face. It went hand in hand with a belief in the 'science' of physiognomy (which postulated that the face reflected the character), the study of genetics, and the belief systems and aesthetics of social Darwinism. This display juxtaposes images that celebrated eminence, beauty and intellect, with those representing the criminal, mentally unstable, and socially undesirable. Thus Lillie Langtry, Sara Bernhardt, scientists and artists, appear alongside images of murderers and the insane, as well as suffragettes (in essence the first use of the surveillance photograph),. National Portrait Gallery until 7th October.
Dan Flavin was one of the world's foremost sculptors of light, and this is the first major exhibition of his work in Britain, comprising twenty two works spanning his thirty year career. In the early 1960s, Flavin and his contemporaries Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Sol Lewitt became known as the founders of Minimal art, for their use of industrial materials in geometric configurations. Flavin was best known for his installations of ordinary fluorescent tubes and fittings, transformed into dazzling structures of luminous colour, always with a mysterious electric hum. The pieces have been selected by Michael Govan, director of Dia Center for the Arts in New York, specifically to engage with the interior architecture of the gallery, as Flavin always endeavoured to do. Serpentine Gallery until 23rd September.
Lie Of The Land: The Secret Life Of Maps poses the question "Can you rely on a map to tell you where you are?" What we see on a map is rarely the same as the land under our feet. Some maps deliberately set out to deceive, many show a selective view, reflecting only the interests of the people who made them. Since all are a representation of a three dimensional world in a two dimensional form, they can only be an interpretation of the truth. This exhibition contains over a hundred examples in a variety of forms, from all over the world, spanning five centuries of mapmaking. Highlights include: Roman Britain mapped out - a forgery that fooled academics for over a hundred years; Paradise found - the Garden of Eden and the Tower of Babel discovered in the Middle East; the earliest surviving terrestrial globe made in China in 1623 by two Europeans; the Red Lined Map used in the negotiations to end the American War of Independence; the first jigsaw ever produced in the form of a dissected map of Europe, made in 1766 by John Spilsbury; and World War II escape maps, made under the nose of the enemy. British Library until 7th April.
Paula Rego brings together a group of recent works, including several displayed for the first time, from large scale pastels and paintings to more intimate preparatory works on paper. Most important among the new pieces is Celestina's House, which represents the latest ideas and imagery in Rego's work, together with The Interrogator's Garden and The Wide Sargasso Sea. All tell a story and are crowded with her idiosyncratic character studies, which, though she now lives and works in Britain, are derived from her Mediterranean roots. Certainly they are not what you expect to find in the Lake District. As she progresses towards a final image, Rego produces sketches, drawings and watercolours in which her ideas develop and crystallise. A number of these works are included in the exhibition, showing Rego's process of weaving stories and narratives in paint and pastel, which are multi-layered, lyrical, often disturbing, and explore the depths of human experience. Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal until 7th October.
Day-Tripper is a sideways look at the crucible of Britain's 'post industrial' industries of Tourism, Heritage and Performing Arts - where else but Stratford upon Avon. It's the place where everything is half timbered (even, as Dame Edna once instanced, the cars), and where the locals hate both the tourists and (especially) the theatre, while at the same time making their fortune from them. In this exhibition Tim Brennan has put together an alternative Shakespeare library, from the pencil marks of students in the margins of their texts; Navin Rawanchaikul has imagined a meeting between the Bard and a taxi driver, visualised in comic book style; Janet Hodgson has carved her thoughts on what she has seen into the pavements; and Jim Medway has caricatured tourist behaviour, by portraying them as cats. The Gallery, Stratford Leisure & Visitor Centre, Stratford upon Avon, 01789 268826 until 16th September.
The Maize Maze, created by Adrian Fisher, the world's leading maze designer, has a path network of over three miles, and is one of the largest and most intricate puzzles in the world. It is a unique design, which will last for only eight weeks, and will never being repeated. Designs in previous years have included a dragon, a pirate ship and a castle. The maze incorporates a refreshment area half way round, observation towers, and large gallery bridges that offer scenic views across the Sussex countryside. Those visitors who find their way out can enjoy other attractions, such as a turf labyrinth, six minute mazes, the barrel train, tractor trailer rides, and a straw mountain. Fisher first developed the Maize Maze concept as a world record attempt in American in 1993. Tulley's Farm, Crawley until 16th September.
Vermeer And The Delft School presents the work of the artistic community which emerged in the Dutch town of Delft in the late 1640s. Although Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch are the best known, there were also many other painters, as well as tapestry-makers, silversmiths and faiencers - creators of blue and white Delftware porcelain. This exhibition features 13 paintings by Vermeer and 11 by De Hooch, plus 50 works by 26 other artists, including Gerard Houckgeest's church interiors, portraits by Michiel van Mierevelt, Paulus Potter's landscapes, Leonaert Bramer's interpretations of biblical stories, and the flower still lifes by Balthasar van der Ast. As it attracted over 550,000 visitors during its previous ten week appearance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, opening hours are extended to 9pm at weekends. National Gallery until 16th September.