Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

Wondering where the hell 2018 went? Unfortunately, we can’t help much with that, but the coming year at least brings the chance to experience one of the major cultural highlights of the last anew. Starting at Humber Street Gallery in Hull, Liverpool Biennial sets out on a tour of the North, presenting a series of exhibitions that richly re-contextualise many of the artworks and themes from Beautiful world, where are you, allowing for a fresh set of encounters to unfold.

 Shifting the focus further northward, Walker Art Gallery prepares to launch its blockbuster show – Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style – which explores the only UK-based branch of the international Art Nouveau movement; a unique fusion of Celtic history, European elegance, ‘Japonisme’ and the spirit of the fin de siècle.

Coinciding with Chinese New Year 2019, Chinternet Ugly at CFCCA will offer a fascinating insight into life behind the biggest digital boundary in the world: the Great Firewall of China. Whilst heading into spring, the Whitworth focuses on a quietly poetic set of hand-painted colour photographs taken by the Chinese artist, poet and curator Li Yuan Chia in his garden along a section of Hadrian’s Wall towards the end of his life.

Lastly, looking ahead to summer, a solo presentation of work by the Venezuelan born, Berlin based artist Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool promises an unforgettably rich visual experience, alongside a sharply satirical critique of the surreal set of stereotypes and clichés attached to different cultures.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at the Whitworth

    Li Yuan Chia: His Late Photographs at Whitworth Art Gallery
    Image: Li Yuan Chia, Untitled, c1993. Courtesy the estate of Li Yuan Chia.

    Li Yuan Chia: Unique Photographs at The Whitworth, Manchester, 18 May–15 December 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    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.

  • 2. Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool

    Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool
    Sol Calero, Interiores 2017 Installation view, Dortmunder Kunstverein. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Simon Vogel

    Sol Calero at Tate Liverpool, Waterfront, 14 June–10 November 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    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.

  • 3. Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery

    Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool
    Poster designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1896 @CSG CIC Glasgow Museums

    Charles Rennie Mackintosh: making the Glasgow Style at Walker Art Gallery, City Centre, 15 March–26 August 2019, from £2 - Book now

    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.

  • 4. Liverpool Biennial Northern England Tour

    Holly Hendry, Cenotaph, 2018. Liverpool Biennial Touring Programme 2019

    , 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.

  • 5. Chinternet Ugly at Centre for ChineseContemporary Art

    Chinternet Ugly at Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art
    Lu Yang, image courtesy of the artist

    Chinternet Ugly at Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, 8 February–12 May 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    CFCCA presents ‘Chinternet Ugly’ – a group exhibition that offers a rare glimpse behind the biggest digital boundary in the world: the Great Firewall of China.

  • 6. Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures at Tate Liverpool

    Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures at Tate Liverpool
    Fernand Léger, The Acrobat and his Partner 1948. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018

    Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures at Tate Liverpool, Waterfront, 23 November 2018–17 March 2019, from £10.50 - Book now

    Tate Liverpool presents the first major UK exhibition in 30 years of renowned modern artist Fernand Léger’s work, exploring how the iconic French painter, sculptor and filmmaker redefined the value of art to 20th century society.

  • 7. Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things at The Hepworth Wakefield

    Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things at The Hepworth Wakefield
    Magdalene Odundo, Untitled, 1989. Courtesy the artist, Anthony Slayter-Ralph. Photograph Bill Dewey.

    Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things at The Hepworth Wakefield, 16 February–2 June 2019, free entry - Find Out More

    Following the huge success of ‘Disobedient Bodies: JW Anderson Curates’ in 2016, world-renowned ceramicist Magdalene Odundo prepares to present her own entirely distinct perspective on world art history in her new exhibition, ‘The Journey of Things’ at The Hepworth Wakefield.

  • 8. Wake Up Together and Where Love is Illegal at Open Eye Gallery

    Ren Hang: Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery
    Untitled, Ren Hang, 2016. Stieglitz19

    Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery, Waterfront, 16 November 2018–17 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool presents ‘Ren Hang: Wake Up Together’ and ‘Robin Hammond: Where Love Is Illegal’ – two exhibitions championing the rights of every person to love who they want and respectfully live as they wish.

  • 9. The Art Schools of North West England at Bluecoat

    John Beck and Matthew Cornford: The Art Schools of North West England at Bluecoat
    Matthew Cornford

    The Art Schools of North West England at Bluecoat, City Centre, 17 November 2018–10 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    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?

  • 10. Salford Makers SHOP

    Salford Makers SHOP, Chapel Street
    Sally Gilford

    Salford Makers SHOP, 311 - 313 Chapel Street, Salford, Manchester, M3 5JY - Visit now

    Support your local independent creatives! This November, a currently dormant sales office on Chapel Street in Salford is being transformed into a pop-up shop where you will be able to meet artists and makers, buy their products and get involved in making.

  • 11. Art Galleries in Manchester & Salford

    The Whitworth. Photo: Alan Williams.

    Away from the buzz of London, Manchester and Salford arguably have one of the highest concentrations of fantastic art galleries in England. Check out our updated guide.

  • 12. The Ground Beneath Your Feet at Castlefield Gallery

    Roee Rosen, The Dust Channel (film still), 2016. The Ground Beneath Your Feet at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
    Roee Rosen, The Dust Channel (film still), 2016

    The Ground Beneath Your Feet at Castlefield Gallery, Castlefield, 16 November 2018–3 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Castlefield Gallery’s latest exhibition, The Ground Beneath Your Feet, invites a more nuanced conversation around multiple geopolitical issues that currently dominate our headlines.

  • 13. The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture 2018 at The Hepworth Wakefield

    Visitors view work by Michael Dean in The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. 26 October 2018 - 20 January 2019. Photo, David Lindsay
    Visitors view work by Michael Dean in The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. 26 October 2018 - 20 January 2019. Photo, David Lindsay

    The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture at The Hepworth Wakefield, 26 October 2018–20 January 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The celebrated Hepworth Prize for Sculpture returns for its second edition featuring an exciting range of high-profile artists and offering a compelling look at the state of the age-old discipline today.

  • 14. Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry

    Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry
    Dante Gabriel Rossetti The Bower Meadow 1850-72 © Manchester Art Gallery/Bridgeman Images

    Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry, Manchester, 10 November 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry in Salford provides an unexpected insight into the artistic imagination of one of the UK’s most popular artists.

  • 15. Senga Nengudi at the Henry Moore Institute

    Senga Nengudi – The Henry Moore Institute
    Courtesy the artist; Lévy Gorvy, New York, London; and Thomas Erben Gallery, New York

    Senga Nengudi at The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, Leeds, 21 September 2018–17 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds presents a major exhibition dedicated to the work of African-American sculptor Senga Nengudi – the pioneering figure who first introduced contemporary art to nylon stockings.

  • 16. LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery

    LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery
    Photo by Waad AlBawardi, The Hidden Life of Crystals, 2018

    LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY at Site Gallery, City Centre, 29 September 2018–27 January 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Site Gallery in Sheffield reopens with LIQUID CRYSTAL DISPLAY – a glittering new exhibition that responds to the ‘crystal era’ we now live in.

  • 17. Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else at Walker Art Gallery

    Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else
    Supplicant 101 2008 Milena Dragicevic. c. the artist courtesy Galerie Martin Janda Vienna

    Leo Fitzmaurice: Between You and Me and Everything Else at Walker Art Gallery, City Centre, 29 September 2018–17 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Curated by Newport-born artist Leo Fitzmaurice, ‘Between You and Me Everything Else’ at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool is an invitation to approach the age-old genre of portraiture through fresh, curious eyes.

  • 18. Stability and Survival at Speke Hall

    National Trust

    Stability and Survival at Speke Hall, Liverpool, 26 September 2018–29 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    This autumn, learn about the inspiring life of Miss Adelaide Watt – an independent and powerful Victorian woman who fought the forces of modernity to preserve Speke Hall and all its treasures for generations to come.

  • 19. Site Gallery

    Site Gallery, Sheffield

    Site Gallery, 1 Brown Street, Sheffield, Yorkshire, S1 2BS - Visit now

    After a three-year long £1.7 million expansion and redevelopment project, Sheffield’s leading international contemporary art space reopens this Autumn – and everyone’s very excited to see what the new Site Gallery holds in store.

  • 20. Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall

    Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall
    Photo by Chris Egon Searle

    Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall, Liverpool, 8 September 2018–28 July 2019, free entry - Visit now

    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.

  • 21. William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitworth

    William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitworth
    William Kentridge, in collaboration with Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh and Peter Gibson. The Refusal of Time, 2012. Film Still. 5-channel video projection, colour, sound, megaphones, breathing machines. 30 minutes. Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery

    William Kentridge: Thick Time at The Whitworth, Manchester, 21 September 2018–3 March 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Thick Time by South African artist William Kentridge at the Whitworth should prove to be both fascinating and mind-boggling in equal measure.

  • 22. LS Lowry: The Art and the Artist – An introduction to LS Lowry’s life and work at Salford Museum & Art Gallery

    LS Lowry: The Art and the Artist – An introduction to LS Lowry’s life and work at Salford Museum and Art Gallery
    SMAG

    LS Lowry: The Art and the Artist at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester, 16 January 2019, from £10 - Book now

    Head to Salford Art Gallery and Museum to find out more about the fascinating life of the somewhat-reclusive, Stretford-born artist and rent collector LS Lowry.

  • 23. The Hardmans’ House

    The Hardmans' House, Liverpool

    The Hardmans’ House, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 9EX - Visit now

    We revisit one of Liverpool’s best kept secrets.

  • 24. Salford Royal Academy Takeover

    Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford

    Salford Royal Academy Takeover at Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester, 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    To mark its 250th birthday, the Royal Academy of Arts in London has launched a nationwide programme of exhibitions, displays, tours, talks and one-off events. Here we take a look at what’s going on in Salford – home of RA LS Lowry and now a growing independent art scene.

  • 25. Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North

    War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North. Lest We Forget
    War Horse at the New London Theatre. Photo by Brinkhoff Mögenburg. Courtesy of IWM North

    Lest We Forget? at Imperial War Museum North (IWM North), Manchester, 27 July 2018–24 February 2019, free entry - Visit now

    Lest We Forget marks the first instalment of a major new season of exhibitions, music, dance, talks and events at IWM London and IWM North exploring how the First World War has shaped society today.

More in Exhibitions

And Breathe... at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 16 March 2018–15 October 2019, FREE

And Breathe… at Manchester Art Gallery

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.

Exhibitions 24 March 2018–7 April 2019, FREE

Exchanges at The Whitworth

Exchanges at The Whitworth sets art and artists together, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition – always with insight and intention.

Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection at The Whitworth Art Gallery
Exhibitions 4 May 2018–19 May 2019, FREE

Bodies of Colour: Breaking with Stereotypes in the Wallpaper Collection at The Whitworth

This latest exhibition uses the Whitworth’s extensive and significant wallpaper collection to focus on how Imperial attitudes to people are reflected in wallpaper.

Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 25 May 2018–22 April 2019, FREE

Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition at Manchester Art Gallery

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.

Exhibitions 2 June 2018–3 February 2019, FREE

Represent! Voices 100 Years On at People’s History Museum

As the national museum of democracy, the People’s History Museum’s headline 2018 exhibition, Represent! Voices 100 Years On, will be guided and informed by the notion of representation itself.

William Roberts RA, Combat, 1966. Image courtesy of Art UK
Exhibitions 30 June 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

The Royal Academy Takeover: The Exhibition

Salford Museum & Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall delve into their collections to present a two-part exhibition featuring significant prints, drawings and sculptures by former Royal Academicians as part of a nationwide programme marking the institution’s 250th birthday.

Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions 6 July 2018–10 November 2019, FREE

Nordic Craft and Design at Manchester Art Gallery

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
Exhibitions 13 July 2018–22 April 2019, FREE

Modern Nature: British Photographs from the Hyman Collection at The Hepworth Wakefield

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.

Alice Kettle: Thread Bearing Witness at the Whitworth art gallery
Exhibitions 1 September 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Alice Kettle: Thread Bearing Witness at the Whitworth

Thread Bearing Witness at the Whitworth is a major new series of large textiles and other works by Alice Kettle, a highly regarded contemporary artist who focuses upon stitch. The exhibition considers the themes of cultural heritage, refugee displacement and movement though the migration of stitches. 

Culture Guides

A World Inside A Book courtesy Suzi Corker

Families

January ain’t dull. Create with light, become forensic archeologists, sculpt with mud, step inside books and find a giant piglet with a coat made from dosh.

Literature

January, February, March, April, even May… we’ve plenty for you to look forward to live literature wise as 2019 unfolds – from performance poetry and soundscapes to readings from magazines, memoirs and award-winning short stories.

Music

Some of the most singular voices in contemporary music are to grace northern stages in the coming months.

Theatre in Manchester and the North

Theatre

Five-star musicals, acclaimed site-specific performances and two-week-long eclectic arts festivals? There’s nothing dry about January.

Cinema

January brings a focus on women-centric cinema, classic revivals and international hits.

Tours and Activities

This month we are highlighting some of the top multilingual tours and activities Manchester has to offer.

Things to do right now

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Senga Nengudi – The Henry Moore Institute
Exhibitions 21 September 2018–17 February 2019, FREE

Senga Nengudi at the Henry Moore Institute

Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall
Exhibitions 8 September 2018–28 July 2019, FREE

Serena Korda: The Bell Tree at Speke Hall

Poppy, Esme, Oleanna, Gracie and Kate, 2014. Personal Feeling is the main thing - Chantal Joffe at The Lowry, Salford
Exhibitions 19 May 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Salford Royal Academy Takeover

The Rumblings Muckle Flugga Shetland, 2013, © Norman Ackroyd. Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP)
Exhibitions 17 November 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Norman Ackroyd at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry
Exhibitions 10 November 2018–24 February 2019, FREE

Lowry & The Pre-Raphaelites at The Lowry