The Manchester Weekender focuses on art on Friday 11 October – here’s our pick of its things to do: from some of the world’s best known artists and exhibition openings to shops, places to eat, music, craft, theatre and an after-party.
Today is all about the art. With most Weekender events taking place in the evening, it makes sense to spend the day in the city’s best gallery spaces. Let’s start with Castlefield Gallery, which lets two artists go Head-to-Head (1pm-6pm, free). Here, Aura Satz (The Tanks, Tate Modern) pits her work against the huge sculptural forms of rising art star, Nicola Ellis. While there, hop over to Cask (Liverpool Rd); the bright blue corner-shop pub encourages you to bring in greasy delights from the chippy next door. It’s also close to MOSI’s Brains: The Mind as Matter (10am-5pm, free), an exhibition that covers that grey, gooey stuff inside our heads in numerous, unexpected and artistic ways.
Head back into town via Spinningfields for the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair (10am-7pm, £7/£5); its Graduate Showcase(s) tomorrow’s brightest makers, while the Collect Space shows off the more established – in this case, acclaimed ceramicist, Professor Stephen Dixon (he talks at 3pm). Nearby, The Alchemist’s cocktail menu features rare spirits served variously in smoking teacups, sharing kettles and milk bottles, which adds up to a pleasant diversion. Walk back into town via the “world’s greatest library”, the John Rylands Library; it hosts Polari Mission: Bona Eek (10am-5pm, free), an exhibition by artists Jez Dolan and Joseph Richardson that uses art and performance to explore the hidden history of Polari, the “lost language” of gay men.
Now, we may be unsophisticated, but you’re not far here from the epic fare of Byron Burgers; a good tip if you need to Eat. Right. Now. Close by is Manchester Town Hall, Alfred Waterhouse’s Grade I-listed monument to Manchester’s best-known trait. No, not swagger: industriousness. Check out the busy, busy bees set into the mosaic (first) floor, take afternoon tea among the statuary of the Sculpture Hall and then read more about the Manchester bee. Done? If you haven’t yet ventured into the Northern Quarter, try Re-calibrate (Chinese Arts Centre, 10am-5pm, free) for a UK premiere by Taiwanese artist Wu Chi-Tsung, or visit Manchester Craft and Design Centre for craft and live music (10am-5.30pm, free). Otherwise, walk up Oxford Street to Cornerhouse: Double Indemnity (12pm-8pm, free) tackles the thorny issue of desire via work by Jenny Holzer, Ming Wong and friends. Nearby, At home with art (5.30pm, £3) is part gallery, part apartment; check out work by the likes of Cornelia Parker and Tracey Emin in the comfort of someone else’s home (tours run through the weekend at different times; check here for full details). Cornerhouse, incidentally, is also an excellent choice for refreshments, while more food, drink and music offerings can be found at Gorilla or Black Dog Ballroom. And we particularly recommend Zouk, off Oxford Road, a restaurant that cost £1m to fit out in 2009 and which, in our opinion, serves up some of the best Indian and Pakistani food in the city.
Early evening is dominated by the premiere of a new exhibition curated by Jeremy Deller. The Turner Prize-winning artist presents All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, a show that not only contains work by Deller but also commissioned banners and murals (including by Ed Hall), historical paintings, poetry and works by William Blake and William Morris. This disparate array of artworks and ephemera is held together by Deller’s desire to uncover the roots of working class music culture, something that began during the Industrial Revolution and for which a city like Manchester is renowned. The show traces everything from industrial folk to 1980s glam rock – and looks set to be an autumnal must-see. It launches tonight at Manchester Art Gallery (6pm-8.30pm, free). Gastronomes can pop in before taking advantage of John Ryan’s Northern Quarter Taster; it meets at Manchester Art Gallery and goes on to explore the NQ, taking in ten small plates along the way (7.45pm-11pm, £30). Elsewhere, try the Great Gatsby night at Matt & Phred’s (8pm, £10/£8), discover the real story of Cinderella with RashDash at Contact, chow down on authentic take-out pizza at Slice, or indulge in further carb-based exploits in the relaxed surrounds of Bakerie.
We have, of course, saved the best until last. Verdampft (10pm-2.30am, £7 adv) is the official Jeremy Deller after party; it sees Everything Everything join us after their sell-out show at the Ritz for an exclusive DJ set. They play alongside Dave Haslam (Hacienda/Yellow) and Will Tramp (City Life DJ of the Year 2012), plus some special, surprise guests on the night. Why the fancy name? “Verdampft” is taken from “alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft”, a phrase used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the Communist Manifesto, which, fact fans, was written in Manchester’s own Chetham’s Library. It also translates as “melts into air” and is a neat way of tying Manchester’s industrial/political past to Jeremy Deller’s new show, which in turn is influenced by the industrial and musical history of our hometown. And so to paraphrase Deller himself, all roads do indeed seem to lead to Manchester. Which, in our book, can only be a good thing.