If there’s a theme across this month’s pick of exhibitions, perhaps it’s the value of looking at the world in different ways. We find this in the work of the late artist Ren Hang, whose strikingly sensuous, notably fearless portrayals of same-sex intimacy led to extreme police hostility and heavy censorship in his home country of China yet have attracted international acclaim and a mass online following. Today, Wake Up Together at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool marks the first UK presentation of a series of the young artist’s photographs and poetry, where they appear alongside Robin Hammond’s Where Love is Illegal – both shows championing the rights of every person to love who they want and respectfully live as they wish.
Across the road at Tate Liverpool, the great French artist Fernand Léger is celebrated for more than his unique contribution to cubism (in the form of tubism), the exhibition also highlighting the impact of his left-wing politics on the social value placed on art in 20th century society. Meanwhile, at Bluecoat, The Art Schools of North West England serves as a vital reminder of all we stand to lose by not foregrounding art and creativity in education – aspects that help encourage more diverse forms of thinking and, ultimately, more open and democratic societies.
Lastly, marking the second in a series of exhibitions that explore new ways of looking at histories of art through the eyes of leading creatives, Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things at The Hepworth Wakefield features a unique collection of objects spanning 3,000 years of culture from across the globe, offering a fascinating window into the melting pot of influences that have inspired the renowned ceramicist’s work over the last three decades.
We also bring you an updated guide to Art Galleries in Manchester and Salford, and news of Salford Makers’ new pop-up SHOP on Chapel Street, selling high-quality gifts and products by local, independent artists – just in time for Christmas.
Here are our picks
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Castlefield Gallery’s latest exhibition, The Ground Beneath Your Feet, invites a more nuanced conversation around multiple geopolitical issues that currently dominate our headlines.
A virus walks into a bar… and does what? CAPSID, John Walter’s major solo exhibition at HOME Manchester, sets out to update the discussion around HIV, how viruses work and the cultural transmission of ideas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leeds International Festival, the UK’s leading metropolitan festival of new ideas and innovation, is back for its second year, this time featuring more than 50 events and 40 speakers over 15 days.
Since 1989, photographer Stuart Roy Clarke has been on a mission of epic proportions. Its goal: to capture the very heart, soul, sweat and tears of British football.
Explore the story of democracy through a special display of banners that were integral to the women’s suffrage movement, as well as other campaigns for representation at the People’s History Museum.
The first major retrospective of work by the radical Manchester artist and feminist campaigner, Annie Swynnerton, opens in nearly 100 years 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.