Private View held by Richard Andrews
London Open House, the annual scheme to allow the public access to architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital, boasts a record number of locations this year. Over 500 buildings of all kinds, both historic and new, include Dulwich Picture, Courtauld Institute and Royal Academy galleries, British, National Maritime and Wellington museums, British, London School of Economics and Peckham libraries, Royal Court, and Soho theatres, Banqueting House, Chiswick House, Freemasons Hall, Great Eastern Hotel, No 1 Poultry, St Pancras Chambers, Westminster Hall and Portcullis House, BBC Bush House, Broadcasting House and Television Centre, and the ITN and Channel 4 buildings. There are also conducted walks taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. In 2000 over 350,000 visits were made during the two days. Entrance is free, and some venues include accompanying special events. Further details and how to obtain a directory can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from the Other Festivals section of ExhibitionsNet. Across London on 22nd and 23rd September.
Walsall Illuminations, Britain's biggest inland illumination display, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, as lights and lasers transform Walsall's arboretum. The season starts with a procession from Walsall town centre that includes 350 pyramid shape lanterns made by local children, plus five 12ft long by 7ft high lanterns, each representing a decade from the last 50 years of pop music. Presumably this symbolises the triumph of exuberance over good taste. The illuminations themselves consist of lakeside lights, state of the art laser shows, floodlit gardens and over 50 different light scenes, including tableaux of favourite children's characters. In addition there are street entertainers, puppet shows, food stalls and fairground rides, plus extra Half Term events during the final week of the season. Walsall Arboretum 15th September to 28th October.
Public Artist, Private Passions: The World Of Edward Linley Sambourne. As a cartoonist with the satirical magazine Punch, Sambourne's graphic work was extremely well known, however, at the peak of his career, he was spending much of his time on a parallel and sometimes secret activity - photography. This exhibition examines Sambourne's camera work in detail, and describes the journey by which his gathering obsession with photography took him from the public realm of the political and social cartoon into the intensely private world of the erotic photograph. Sambourne, the great grandfather of Lord Snowdon, had discovered the medium as an aid to drawing, and by his death in 1910 had amassed a collection of over 50,000 cyanotype images. Sambourne's photography comprises an extraordinary range of subject matter, from comic studies used for cartoons and posed by family, friends and servants, to classical nudes and erotic photographs of famous models and actresses. It reopens the debate on the borderline between pornography and art, offering an unusual and different perspective. Among the materials never previously exhibited are a variety of props that Sambourne used in his work, drawings and photographs, and an assortment of camera equipment including the 'secret camera' for his more furtive photographs. Leighton House Museum, London until 13th January.
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.
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.
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.
Blackwell is one of England's most important surviving houses from the turn of the 20th century. Designed by M. H. Baillie Scott between 1897 and 1900, it is a superb example of Arts and Crafts movement architecture. Sixty years of neglect have been brought to an end with a £3.5m restoration programme, and the house has now been returned to its original condition. Downstairs, the living rooms have been furnished with examples of craft and the applied arts pieces of the period, together with small sculptures by Gaudier-Brezeska and Epstein. Upstairs, the bedrooms have been turned into exhibition galleries. The opening display is a retrospective of contemporary organic ceramics by Kenyan born Magdalene Odundo, comprising over 50 pieces, including 15 new works. Outside, the garden terraces give way to spectacular Lakeland views. Blackwell, Kendall - Magdalene Odundo until 23rd September.
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 until 23rd September.
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.