With coronavirus restrictions in a continued state of flux, it feels more than a relief to still be allowed to visit local galleries and museums. And there is an abundance of stellar offline exhibitions open and upcoming to satisfy those keen to get back to seeing art in the flesh.
Perhaps most exciting of all is the recent announcement that Manchester Art Gallery is to host Grayson’s Art Club. Based on the popular Channel 4 series that helped countless viewers through the boredom, loneliness and confinement of early lockdown, the show will present the Turner-Prize winning artist Grayson Perry’s personal highlights from the more than 10,000 works that were submitted to the programme by the public over its course – constituting a nationwide display.
Grayson fandom aside, we’re also looking forward to a rather unconventional exhibition at Castlefield Gallery. Embracing the idea of ‘freedom within restriction’, Obstructions will see 15 Manchester-based artists each present a new version of an existing piece, re-made following a bespoke rule or limitation imposed upon them by another artist in the show. Challenging the exhibitors to work in ways outside of their usual creative comfort zone, the results should be fascinating to encounter.
With concerns about health and care at the forefront of many people’s mind right now, BALTIC in Gateshead is to present an immersive installation by Lithuanian artist duo Pakui Hardware that explores the growing digitisation of medicine and its move toward virtual and robotic care giving. Meanwhile, Multiplicities in Flux at CFCCA responds partly to the rise in racism experienced by people of East Asian background since the beginning of the pandemic.
Over the Pennies, another of our top picks comes from Steel City where a re-showing of images from a 1980s photography initiative The Sheffield Project captures a pivotal moment of social, cultural and urban change in Sheffield’s history and its impact on the people who lived through it.
With plenty more exhibitions to choose from as well, the North West’s visual arts scene seems very much alive. Be sure to check out our full guide to the best online events from organisations in Manchester and the North too.
Stay well folks.
Here are our picks
Paloma Varga Weisz: Bumped Body continues the Henry Moore Institute’s programme of exhibitions dedicated to contemporary sculptors yet to receive full exposure in the UK.
People’s History Museum presents a powerful selection of images taken by photographer Jake Hardy documenting one of the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests that took place in central Manchester during May 2020.
For her first solo exhibition, Welsh artist Phoebe Davies presents a new body of work inspired by her time spent with a group of teenage female wrestlers training in a local club on the outskirts of Oslo.
At a time when so much of life and culture seems to have migrated online, Cooper Gallery in Barnsley presents Allegories of the Senses – an exhibition centred upon the more tangible qualities of lived experience.
This blockbuster exhibition was due to close at the end of March, but has been extended until 29 November as part of the Science and Industry Museum’s reopening programme.
Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.
Visit People’s History Museum’s 2020 display of political banners from across the years – including several that will go on public show for the first time.
How have visions of utopia and the visual culture that helped form it impacted upon the Brexit debate? A new exhibition at the Whitworth explores.
Combining demon lures and invented artefacts, ancient mythology and family lore, The High Dam at The Tetley in Leeds is the latest new work by upcoming artist Emii Alrai.
In this immersive exhibition, children can let their imaginations go wild as they take centre stage alongside some of their favourite characters from beloved children’s author, Judith Kerr.
Follow Jasmine’s story, as she struggles to decide whether or not to search for her birth family in Wuhan, told via a series of Instagram and blog posts.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park presents the monumental work of celebrated Portuguese sculptor Joana Vasconcelos.
Anthony Burgess on Tape is an online exhibition from the International Anthony Burgess Foundation comprising of 1,094 cassettes and 87 reel-to-reel tapes from one of Manchester’s greatest and most prolific writers.