The echoes between the preoccupations of the art world and the political climate of the day can, at times, feel uncanny – particularly when you consider that the exhibitions which make up the top picks in our Exhibitions guide will have been planned months, if not years, in advance. Admittedly, it is easy to get a little too Freudian about drawing parallels between the two; we naturally look for a reflection of the prevailing social themes in art.
Yet when art events are themselves built to be responsive and unpredictable, parallels are encouraged: so it is with Manchester International Festival‘s Party Skills for the End of the World, which sets out to equip its audience with the skills to both survive and savour the end of civilisation ( /the outcome of welfare budget cuts). Or with the launch event for Lindsey Bull and Plastique Fantastique at Castlefield Gallery, in which collaborative group Plastique Fantastic will be bringing a figure of alternative fictions into life via a séance of sorts, thus fulfilling Trump’s wildest #FakeNews dreams.
Raqib Shaw’s stunning paintings – at the Whitworth from 24 June – are themselves highly subversive, featuring scenes of extreme hedonism and moral abandon, but they also draw together connections with the gallery’s own historic collection of drawings and textiles. As with Cut Cloth: Contemporary Textiles and Feminism at The Portico Library, the point here is that social themes can be recursive (or simply enduring). We can conclude, then, although the 2018 dates and title for the next Liverpool Biennial have been fixed, its programme will evolve with as much predictable uncertainty as the world.
Here are our picks
What’s in Store? is a unique showcase of The University of Salford Art Collection; established in 1969, the collection now includes around 700 works by artists including Bridget Riley, David Hockney and Gilbert and George. Many of the works in this exhibition have never been on public display before.
A showcase of design in sport at Manchester Craft & Design Centre – including an ‘anti-stink’ material made using silver, a collapsible helmet and a relaxation hoodie with a very particular shade of pink…
The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre is set to be taken over by a stunning spectacle of lasers, light, sound and colour from leading creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast. Audiences will experience IRIS – a unique digital art installation created using laser technology.
Cut Cloth explores the shifting role of textiles within contemporary feminist art practices; an exhibition, publication and series of workshops, Cut Cloth contemplates the rise in popularity of art textiles and the resulting impact on textile’s value as a specifically feminist mode of expression.
Manchester International Festival has announced the venue for Party Skills for the End of the World – a creative event during which you can learn the skills necessary to survive and savour life during the collapse for civilisation. An immersive piece from ‘the most innovative theatre company in Britain’ (Guardian).
Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Weekend of Wonderful Things is really a one-off showcase of special events and experiences that highlight just how magical a place it can be. Here are our highlights.
Liverpool Biennial 2018, 14 July–28 October 2018, free entry - Find Out More
Taking place in 2018 is the tenth edition of the Liverpool Biennial, an event that has brought newly-commissioned contemporary art to the city and the region since 1998. Discover the dates and theme for next year’s event here.
Treasures Revealed features 40 inspirational objects, collections and ideas from the National Arts Education Archive, chosen by an eclectic range of authors, politicians, artists and critics as part of Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s 40th anniversary in 2017.