Following the announcement of the full 2019 programme earlier this month, our latest pick of exhibition highlights is somewhat unashamedly skewed towards this year’s incredible Manchester International Festival visual arts offer. Forget Skepta, Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s radical investigation into the potentiality of air, Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera’s collaboration with migrants from across the city, and Ibrahim Mahama’s evocatively titled Parliament of Ghosts, look likely to be among the most memorable commissions.
Marking the 200-year-anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, which took place in St Peter’s Square in 1819, People’s History Museum launches a major new exhibition dedicated to commemorating the watershed moment in British democracy and its ongoing legacy in relation to contemporary citizen activism. Meanwhile, Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria prepares to celebrate another important bicentenary: the birth of John Ruskin. Spanning five galleries, the display will pivot around the great Victorian art critic and watercolourist’s admiration for the work of J. M. W. Turner and their shared fascination with skies – a motif through which Ruskin was able to explore his ongoing struggles with mental health and issue an early warning around climate change.
Organised in collaboration between Castlefield Gallery, Manchester School of Architecture (MSA) and independent curator Tom Emery, UnDoing reflects upon the often-conflicted relationship between the past and present in architecture. We’re especially looking forward to a series of models of ‘lost buildings’, including the hut built by Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in Norway, where he lived as a hermit whilst writing his most celebrated philosophical treatise.
Lastly, remembering the past also forms the central theme of a second exhibition at Abbot Hall – Refuge: The Art of Belonging. Featuring a remarkable collection of works by artists that fled Nazi Germany and sought refuge in Britain, in the current climate of rising anti-Semitism, the show acts as a prescient reminder to learn from rather than repeat the lessons of history.
Here are our picks
As part of MIF 2019, acclaimed Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera will collaborate with local Manchester residents originally from other countries to challenge dominant societal expectations around cultural integration.
Could the air that surrounds us be used to access the voices of the past? For MIF 2019, Mexican-Canadian electronic artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer sets out to investigate a captivating theory posited by the great 19th century English polymath Charles Babbage
Marking the 200-year-anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre, ‘Disrupt? Peterloo and Protest’ at People’s History Museum takes visitors on a journey through the past, present and future of protest in this country.
This summer, Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Cumbria marks the 200-year-anniversary of the great Victorian art critic and watercolourist, John Ruskin’s birth, with an exhibition dedicated to the turbulent skies above.
Refuge: The Art of Belonging at Abbot Hall in Cumbria serves as a vital reminder of the significance behind the common proverb: ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it’.
A duo-exhibition of work by the eminent American filmmaker Ericka Beckman and rising London-based video artist Marianna Simnett marks a strong start to FACT’s year-long season focusing on identity, representation and gender.
Responding to the impact of the legacies of slavery and colonialism upon the present, ‘Declaration of Independence’ at Baltic in Gateshead will exist as a performative forum designed to help us rethink our understanding of monumental moments in world history.
For EDIT.04, British-Irish choreographer Joe Moran prepares to transform The Lowry’s gallery space into a ‘live exhibition’ combining performance, film and spray paint drawing.
Exactly 120 years after his death, the work of the world-renowned William Stott of Oldham returns to his hometown as part of an exhibition dedicated to his legacy.
As one of Liverpool’s lesser known gems prepares to reopen its doors for 2019, we look forward to encountering a rare series of photographs only recently discovered by chance in the cluttered darkroom of the Hardmans’ former, perfectly-preserved home.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, The Cooper Gallery in Barnsley presents an exhibition celebrating some of the most beautiful and spectacular visions of the cosmos taken by astrophotographers around the world.
Following on from Chiharu Shiota’s monumental web installation, South Korean artist Kimsooja prepares to fill Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s 18th century chapel with iridescent light. Prepare to step into a deeply meditative space, underpinned by eastern notions of the Void.
Presented at venues across Manchester, Sixteen is a nationwide photographic project that gives voice to the next generation of young people across Great Britain, who will live in a politically reshaped country divorced from the European Union.
Kannan Arunasalam: The Tent at The Tetley explores the lasting impact of the civil war that raged in Sri Lanka for over 25 years, claiming the lives of an estimated 80,000-100,000 people and leading to the forced disappearance of more than 20,000 ethnic Tamils.
The Holden Gallery presents Simeon Barclay: Life Room, featuring new work by an artist from Huddersfield who discovered glamour, theatricality and a sense of aspiration between the pages of ‘Vogue’, and a love for industrial fabricating techniques during 16 years spent on the factory floor.
The Piece Hall in Halifax prepares to unveil ‘The Blanket’ – a new large-scale outdoor artwork by British sculptor David Murphy – which will occupy the centre of the former textile hall’s sweeping Georgian courtyard.
The Whitworth presents a quiet, yet arrestingly beautiful series of hand-coloured photographs taken by China’s first conceptual artist, Li Yuan Chia, nearing the end of his life.
Tate Liverpool presents a new commission by Venezuelan-born, Berlin-based artist Sol Calero, whose brightly coloured, large-scale immersive installations offer a sharply satirical critique of the surreal set of stereotypes and clichés attached to different cultures.
Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool prepares to present its blockbuster exhibition of 2019, dedicated to the life and work of the Glaswegian artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh – father of the UK’s part in the international Art Nouveau movement.
, 18 January 2019–3 May 2020, free entry
Whether Liverpool Biennial 2018 passed you by or you diligently ticked-off every last one of its multiple offerings (if so; bravo), the Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour seems unlikely to disappoint.
There were over 150 art schools in England in the mid-1960s; now most of them are closed or absorbed into other institutions. Bluecoat’s new exhibition, ‘The Art Schools of North West England’, asks: What did it mean to have an art school in every town and what can we learn by discovering their fate?
Exploring the relationship between art and mindfulness And Breathe… is an exhibition of artworks from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection that explores the relationship between art, positive mental health and wellbeing.
Exchanges at The Whitworth sets art and artists together, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition – always with insight and intention.
This latest exhibition uses the Whitworth’s extensive and significant wallpaper collection to focus on how Imperial attitudes to people are reflected in wallpaper.
What do public museums collect and why? Which works become highlights, and which lie forgotten in storage? Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery considers how public museums reflect and shape our collective imagination.
Grounded in a more poetic, ‘geological’ sense of time, the eminent Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone stands apart from the everyday concerns of the modern world. Experience his work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery highlights the superb quality and creativity inherent in design from the region and features pieces from 1930 to the present day.
Modern Nature: British Photographs from the Hyman Collection at The Hepworth Wakefield is a new exhibition of images by leading British photographers, which explores our evolving relationship with the natural world and how this shapes individuals and communities.
Take a closer look at some of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection while gaining a better understanding of the context in which the pieces were created. The free tours run daily from 2 pm.
The Bell Tree by award winning contemporary artist Serena Korda responds to England’s alternative history of fairy-tale folklore, the ancient forest at Speke Hall and the legacy of hidden rebellion that surrounds the historic Tudor home.