ART

No one who loves color and beautiful paintings will want to miss "After Matisse." At the Phillips Collection, this exhibition of 42 works by 37 American artists shows the pervasive influence of the French painter, who explored the myriad expressive possibilities of color with a resourcefulness no other 20th-century painter has equaled. Though some works here are weak, it is still a curious and delightful grab bag of a show.

CLASSICAL MUSIC

The National Symphony Orchestra's annual July 4 concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol will be conducted by James Conlon and will include Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" overture and the music of Marvin Hamlisch.

The American premiere of English composer John Tavener's "Ikon of Light" will be given by the American Vocal Ensemble Tuesday evening at the Washington Cathedral. The program will also include a mass for double chorus by Frescobaldi.

Music of Beethoven, Bizet and Wagner will be performed by the Bowdoin Trio tonight at the National Gallery.

The Strathmore Summer Serenade, Monday night at Strathmore Hall, will feature works of Beethoven, Dvorak and Hoiby.

DANCE

American Ballet Theatre completes a two-week visit with afternoon and evening performances of its new "Sleeping Beauty" production.

At the Dance Place tonight, Melvin Deal's ever-splendid African Heritage Dancers & Drummers troupe presents its most recent program.

A new Washington dance/theater entity, the Ajax Moving Company, makes its first appearance at d.c. space Wednesday and Thursday evenings, featuring actor/dancer Joe (Ajax) Drayton in "1 Day ...," with a musical score created by area musicians Wayson Jones and Dan Joseph in collaboration with Drayton.

Stewart Carrera, longtime Washington resident, presents two different programs of Bharata Natyam, the classical dance of southern India, at American University Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

The notable KanKouran West African Dance Company appears Friday evening at Marvin Theatre in its "A Visit to Africa" concert.

FILM

"84 Charing Cross Road," a literate little love story, features Anne Bancroft as a feisty New York bookworm whose passion for obscure volumes results in a transatlantic affair of the minds. The steady stream of letters between Bancroft, as author Helene Hanff, and Anthony Hopkins, as a lovable London bookseller, are the spine of this embracing screenplay. David Jones directs Bancroft in her most heartwarming performance.

POP MUSIC

Paul Simon's "Graceland" Tour comes to Washington and if Simon's lyrics don't get you, the rhythms of a great African band and the vocal syncopations of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the wondrous 10-voice a cappella group, will. Also on the bill: trumpeter Hugh Masekela and vocalist Miriam Makeba.

Who's That Girl? Good question, since there are still lots -- and we mean lots -- of seats available for Madonna's July 2 concert at RFK Stadium.

They've changed the venue, but not the cause: Welcome Home is a celebration and fund-raiser for America's Vietnam veterans. The afternoon concert, originally scheduled for RFK Stadium, has been moved to Capital Centre, with lineup intact: James Brown, Crosby, Stills and Nash, John Fogerty, Anita Baker, Linda Ronstadt, James Ingram, the Four Tops, Kris Kristofferson and others.

THEATER

Apocalypse how? In "National Defense" (by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), a fearsomely funny new play by Washington's T.J. Edwards, this is the way the world ends: "Not in the hands of the superpowers, but in the hands of some dink terrorist with 12 pounds of plutonium." Shot through with international paranoia, warning blasts of punk rock, spells of dire comedy and moonstruck romance, "National Defense" fulfils the promise of Edwards' Helen Hayes Award-winning "New York Mets" even as it delivers a threat.