Photography is usually thought to require a camera to fix fleeting lighting effects on a flat surface. Yet it is equally possible to create images directly on photographic paper either by casting shadows or by using chemicals. Although photographers stage scenes and use manipulative tricks, the camera always captures what is in some sense "out there". Camera-less photographs are "one-offs", since they don't require a negative, and can depict an imaginary world. This exhibition brings together the work of five international contemporary artists - Floris Neususs, Pierre Cordier, Susan Derges, Garry Fabian Miller and Adam Fuss - who use techniques such as the photogram, the luminogram and the chemigram. Shadow Catchers continues at the Victoria and Albert Museum until 20 February 2011.
Nam June Paik
The Korean-born American Nam June Paik (1932-2006) is often considered the first video artist, although he was also a performance artist, composer and innovator across a wide range of media. This major exhibition, the first since Paik's death, continues until 13 March 2011 and is split between Tate Liverpool and the nearby FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). The first venue has assembled around 90 works from every phase of his career, including: robot sculptures; large-scale video installations; an exploration of the clashing cultures of East and West, TV Buddha (1989); and a meditation on nature and the man-made, Video Fish (from 1979-92), which juxtaposes television sets and aquariums full of live fish. Meanwhile, FACT is showing the bold installation Laser Cone (1998) and 16 video works such as Good Morning, Mr Orwell (1984).
Born in Leeds in 1972, the prominent sculptor Thomas Houseago is now based in Los Angeles and has had shows in New York and Milan. His first solo exhibition in Britain (until 20 February 2011) is split between the Ashmolean Museum and Modern Art Oxford. Working in a monumental figurative style that draws on classical techniques, Houseago has created free-standing works cast in bronze as well as totemic sculptures made of huge timbers and hessian slathered in plaster and wrapped around steel armatures. A number of such works are on display in the Ashmolean's forecourt and newly redeveloped Cast Gallery. The parallel exhibition at Modern Art Oxford, entitled What Went Down, will travel to the Museum Abteiberg in Monchengladbach, Germany, and the International Center of Art and Landscape at Vassiviere Island, France.
Norman Rockwell's America
The prolific Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) produced countless heart-warming depictions of everyday life that count as some of the defining images of what America was like in his time - or of how it liked to see itself. Yet this is the first British exhibition of original work by this best-known and best-loved US artist. Continuing at the Dulwich Picture Gallery until March 2011, it offers a comprehensive overview of a career spanning six decades and includes illustrations for advertisements, magazines and books. Also on display are all 323 of the iconic covers for the Saturday Evening Post, which Rockwell produced from 1916 to 1963.
Rugs and Ritual in Tibetan Buddhism
This exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which continues until 26 June 2011, focuses on the dramatic tantric rugs, usually depicting the flayed skin of an animal or human, and associated utensils used to enact the rites associated with protective deities. Tiger-pelt rugs have a particularly ancient ancestry, since Indian holy men have long meditated and preached while seated on a flayed tiger skin. The often-disturbing imagery includes many depictions of the wrathful deity Mahakala, who is said to promote spiritual advancement by destroying the corporeal bonds that tie us to our material existence.