Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

Sara Jaspan, Exhibitions Editor

The re-opening of bars, restaurants, shops, gyms and hairdressers this April has put a spring in many people’s step, and hopefully galleries are not far behind with many scheduled to welcome visitors back in May. There’s much to look forward to, including REMOTE WORK and Lubaina Himid: The Mourning Kangas – two shows wrapped inside one – at Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, and Top Secret – an exhibition curated in partnership with expert advisors from GCHQ, at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.

Over the past year, artists and art organisations have become highly adept at finding new ways to present art, however, and we still have plenty to look forward to outside of the traditional gallery space. Among these, Abandon Normal Devices – the nomadic festival of digital culture, art and film – is returning to the cultural landscape with a water-borne, water-inspired programme that makes use of the Manchester Ship Canal and River Mersey in an entirely new way. The 2021 edition is centred around an urgent message concerning the damage humans are causing to the lakes, rivers and oceans of this planet. The need to repair our relationship with the natural world also lies at the heart of Silence – Alone in a World of Wounds – a new artist commission sited within a stand of birch trees at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, where visitors will be invited to enter into an act of solitary communion with nature.

A different kind of communion with nature fuels the Turner Prize-winning artist Tai Shani’s major new digital commission for Manchester International Festival’s Virtual Factory series. Unfolding as a nine-part hallucinatory journey across time and space, The Neon Hieroglyph explores the potential of psychedelic drugs to open a powerful imaginative space from which new visions of society and alternative possible futures can emerge. Buckle up, you’re in for a trip.

Here are our picks

More in Exhibitions

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives – exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery
Exhibitions Until 14 December 2021, FREE

Trading Station: how hot drinks shape our lives at Manchester Art Gallery

Trading Station at Manchester Art Gallery charts the history and changing social role of hot drinks in our lives.

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2022, FREE

These Lancashire Women are Witches in Politics with The Turnpike

A collaborative project that takes inspiration from the history of the Leigh Female Reformers of 1819 and the monstrous representations of them in the media of the time.

Posters from the civil rights era – an online exhibition
Exhibitions Until 30 June 2021, FREE

Posters from the Irish civil rights era – Online with the Working Class Movement Library

Working Class Movement Library presents an online exhibition of powerful posters made by young activists fighting for civil rights in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library
Exhibitions Until 27 July 2021, FREE

What it is to be here: Colonisation and Resistance – Online at The Portico Library

The Portico Library marks 250 years since British explorer James Cook first landed on the shores of what we now call Australia with an online exhibition that explores the history of violence and resistance that followed.

Exhibitions Until 1 May 2021, FREE

The Gardener Digs in Another Time – Online at the Whitworth

the Whitworth in Manchester invites you to step into the garden as subject with an online version of its 2016 exhibition, The Gardener Digs in Another Time.

Life drawing Manchester
Activity Until 25 April 2021, from £6

Life Drawing Manchester Online Classes

The popular Northern Quarter community, Life Drawing Manchester, have migrated to zoom, opening up their classes to models and artists from all over the world.

What is Manchester Art Gallery?
Exhibitions Until 31 January 2023, FREE

What is Manchester Art Gallery? at Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery reopens with a thought-provoking new exhibition that delves into the history of the public institution and its role within the city.

Don McCullin at Tate Liverpool
Exhibitions Until 9 May 2021, from £11

Don McCullin at Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool presents a major retrospective of work by Don McCullin, widely considered to be one of the greatest photojournalists of our time.

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire at Imperial War Museum North
Exhibitions Until 31 May 2021, FREE

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire at Imperial War Museum North

Aid Workers: Ethics Under Fire at Imperial War Museum North takes a close look at the moral dilemmas surrounding overseas aid.

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