TO BE A POP STAR nowadays you had better be a looker, an Elvis-handsome hunk or a hard-bodied Britney. Movie stars are also expected to be stunners. But requirements in the art world are considerably less severe. This point is made repeatedly by "Portrait of the Artist: A Century of ARTnews Photographs" at the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center, a 100-picture show borrowed from the archives of that magazine. Some of these are candid shots (we learn, for instance, that Francis Bacon's studio was as messy as the room of the messiest adolescent). Others are theatrical: Salvador Dali stares at us through the distorting lens of a Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass. The most useful images are self-portraits (David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol), for at least they tell us something about the artist's art. Many of the others don't. And the faces in them are not more beautiful, or much more interesting, than those that you might see riding on the bus.
-- Paul Richard
"Portrait of the Artist: A Century of ARTnews Photographs" is on view in the International Gallery of the Smithsonian's S. Dillon Ripley Center at 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW through April 6. Free. Call 202-357-2700 or visit www.npg.si.edu
A TRIO OF BRITISH power-pop rockers, Supergrass had an aura of inevitability in the years after Oasis broke big stateside. But the band has yet to land a heavy-rotation place on alternative radio, and it's far larger in the Motherland than here. Supergrass's fourth and latest album, "Life on Other Planets," might just change that. Lead singer- guitarist Gaz Coombes has the upbeat outlook of a dude who's smoked his share of excellent weed -- where'd you think they got their name? -- and he's mastered the glammy harmonies and hooks that you could imagine Elton John would have produced if he'd been reared on the Clash. Anyway, who could resist a guy whose idea of a come-on is "Face, such a beautiful face, but time waits for no one, so let's get it on"? The Coral, a Liverpudlian sextet with a Pink Floyd fixation and a whole lot of U.K. buzz, opens.
-- David Segal
At the 9:30 club, 815 V St. NW. Thursday at 9 p.m. $15. Call 202-265-0930 or visit www.930.com
MARK MORRIS HIMSELF will perform the world premiere of his solo "Serenade" next weekend in Fairfax. The dance is set to the Indian- and Turkish-influenced Serenade for Guitar by American composer Lou Harrison, a favorite of Morris's whose music the choreographer has used before in such works as the brilliant, mysterious "Rhymes With Silver." Also on the Mark Morris Dance Group program will be the shimmering "V," "New Love Song Waltzes" and "Going Away Party."
-- Sarah Kaufman
At the George Mason University Center for the Arts, Braddock Road and Route 123, Fairfax. Saturday at 8 p.m. $21-$42. Call 703-218-6500 or visit www.gmu.edu/cfa
THE D.C. INDEPENDENT Film Festival continues its ambitious penetration of independent film culture this week. Today, for example, you can listen to Catherine Wyler run a seminar called "Independent Producing: How to Make and Distribute Your Films" at 11 a.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Tomorrow at 7 p.m. Karin Hayes and Victoria Bruce will show "Missing Peace," about the kidnapping of Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, at Mazza Gallerie. At 7 p.m. Wednesday, "Season of Youth" will be screened, also at Mazza. It's a feature about the subtle impact of racism in an affluent New York suburb. But these arbitrary selections represent just a fragment of the energetic week-long celebration, which finishes up Thursday night.
-- Stephen Hunter
At various locations through Thursday. For showtimes and ticket prices, call 202-537-9493 or visit www.dciff.org