One clear thread that runs through a number of our current top exhibition picks is a fascination with the history and narratives that come to be associated with objects. Newly opened is Life of Objects at The John Rylands Library, an unusual showcase of the objects in the library’s collection, instead of its books and manuscripts (which span five millennia). Then there’s Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a stunning installation that draws on a mysterious, and controversial, backstory.
Further ahead is Object Lessons at Manchester Museum, an exhibition featuring finely crafted 19th century life science teaching objects, which we’re particularly excited about for its inclusion of extraordinary glass models by glassmakers Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, who were unparalleled in their work. Further ahead still is True Faith as part of Manchester International Festival 2017 (read our guide here): combining memorabilia with work by international artists, the exhibition charts the cultural significance of legendary Manchester bands Joy Division and New Order.
Here are our top 10 picks
Extraordinary objects from the private collection of art collector George Loudon go on display to the public for the first time in Object Lessons at Manchester Museum – a showcase of 19th century life science teaching objects that blurs the boundary between art and science.
Part of the newly-announced Manchester International Festival programme is this exhibition of internationally acclaimed artists to mark the ongoing cultural significance of New Order and Joy Division.
Featuring objects including a fragment from the lining of Napoleon’s coffin, The John Rylands Library’s latest exhibition sets out to prove that a library’s stories are not just contained within books.
Hopeless repetition is a core theme in artist Andrew McDonald’s animated works – but who is responsible for the darkly comic loops the figures on screen perform? Find out in this significant solo show at Castlefield Gallery.
The first UK solo exhibition by photographer, screenwriter and filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala – organised as part of New North and South, a network of 11 arts organisations from across the North of England and South Asia.
An installation of 12 bronze zodiac heads by Ai Weiwei – one of the most viewed sculpture projects in the history of contemporary art – brings its fascinating history to Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
January 1967: it’s illegal for men to have sex together, lesbianism is seen as a medical misfortune, and trans rights are non-existent. This exhibition at the People’s History Museum charts the fight for LGBT+ rights, opening in a year that marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts.
Including a close replica of Julian Assange’s study at the Ecuadorian Embassy, How much of this is fiction is a major new exhibition of artists as tricksters – and a form of cultural response to the world of post-truth politics.
Six contemporary artists feature in this exhibition at Castlefield Gallery, each exploring the ways in which screen based technologies and the online world puts distance between us and objects.
HOME has just announced its next major exhibition – a reflection on the cultural and social revolution that took place in post-Franco Spain through new commissions and pre-existing, international works.