The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Shows

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The Independent Culture
Bridget Riley (Serpentine Gallery, London)

The classic Op period: paintings from the 1960s and 1970s, blazing and shifting in black, white and grey. To 30 Aug

Joseph Beuys: The Secret Block... (Royal Academy, London)

... for a Secret Person in Ireland: 456 beautiful and mysterious drawings (right) using blood, fat, pencil and gold leaf offer clues to Beuys's mythology. To 16 Sept

Disasters of War (Imperial War Museum, London)

Three ages of European war through the etchings of Jacques Callot, Goya and Otto Dix: flashes of horror, mass executions and madness. To 26 Sept

Rembrandt by Himself (National Gallery, London)

The self-portraits. The first and most searching autobiography in paint. The great pictorial statements of honesty and mortality, of the human depths. To 5 Sept

Visions of Ruin (Sir John Soane's Museum, London )

Small show of follies, fragments and fantasy buildings, detailing the 18th- and 19th-century cult of ruins, in the heart of Soane's house of curiosities. To 28 Aug