Contemporary art in Manchester this June

Contemporary art in Manchester this June


May was a fantastic month for contemporary art in Manchester and June is already setting out to be even better. In this latest blog, more like late blog really, as I’ve been floored by hay fever, so my apologies, we have new exhibitions from Altrincham’s Air Gallery, ‘Emergence‘ featuring among others GM Arts Prize 2018 finalist Omid Asadi. ‘Shortlist’ is Saul Hay’s latest exhibition featuring prize winners from the New Lights Arts Prize, Valeria Sykes winner and a Royal Academy member!

Something completely different comes from newcomer Tape Modern the brain-child of artists Rikka Enne and Sophia Moffa and Squat crew Love C.O.P’s. Held in a squat in the centre of Manchester you will have to check if its had to move on before you go! (I’ve put the Facebook link in to check latest details before you go)

Paradise Works present ‘Mental State Signs’ a solo exhibition from painter, film-maker, photographer and found media artist Nick Jordan

Sunday 10th June promises to be a great day of music and art at the Victoria Baths Music and Arts Festival.

Manchester Histories has TUC Day from 7-11th June curated by Dave Haslam celebrating 150 years of the TUC, and the Peoples History Museum has ‘Represent’ Voices 100 on’ all about the Suffragette movement 100 years ago, and finally you can read all about Nathaniel Pitt new director of The Manchester Contemporary

Air Gallery – Emergence

April Virgoe | Omid Asadi | Rowan Eastwood | Tristram Aver

Exhibition dates: Friday 8th June – Saturday 30th June 2018
Evening preview: Thursday 7th June 2018

Contemporary art in Manchester
Omid Asadi

Emergence is a group exhibition featuring the four winners of last year’s AIR Open 2017.
Bringing together a collection of new works, the exhibition aims to showcase how each artist has developed over the past year since accepting their awards.

Contemporary art in Manchester
Rowan Eastwood

The title of the show is reflective of the underlying themes within the works, bringing into question that which is visible and what is being a concealed; from unseen consequences and obscured images, to hidden depths and meanings. Emergence also signifies that these artists are rising to prominence in the contemporary visual arts scene.

Contemporary art in Manchester
April Virgoe painting series Air Gallery

Featuring a mixture of painting, experimentation, installation, sculpture and video; this multi-disciplinary show represents the diversity in the current contemporary art scene and the rich variety of experimental media at play.

Contemporary art in Manchester
Tristram Aver

Could your work be here next year in our winners show? Enter the AIR Open 2018 now at Deadline 28th June. For more information please contact. Becky Wild Phone 0161 941 1129



Saul Hay Gallery – Shortlist

9th June – 22nd July  Preview Friday 8th June 18:00 – 20:30

Contemporary art in Manchester
Anthony Ratcliffe – Northern Stone


Sixteen artists will be showing work at Saul Hay Gallery including the 2017 Valeria Sykes Prize Winner Christopher Cook, Emerging Artist Prize Winner Deborah Grice, Bowes Museum Visitors Choice Winner Justin Coburn, New Light CEO Emerson Mayes, Royal Academy member Anne Desmet and Saul Hay Gallery favourites Steven Heaton, Mandy Payne and Glenn Ibbitson.

Contemporary art in Manchester
Anne Desmet RA – Grasshopper

Established in 2010, New Light celebrates and promotes Northern art. The New Light Prize Exhibition will be showing at Bankside Gallery London from 27th June – 1st July 2018 for more information

Michael Ashcroft | Justin Coburn | Christopher Cook | Anne Desmet RA Paul Digby | Mark Gibbs | Sarah Gilman | Deborah Grice

Steven Heaton | Glenn Ibbitson | Emerson Mayes | James Naughton Mandy Payne | Laura Quinn-Harris | Anthony Ratcliffe | Sophie Twiss


Tape Modern – Food to the Dogs

Contemporary art in Manchester
Enna & Moffa -Site specific installation

Mon 4th 12.00-19.00 >> 2. Performance: Altercation, 2018 Enne&Moffa, starting at 18:00
Tue-Thur 12.00-18.00
Fri 8th 12.00-19.00 >> 3. Performance: Altercation, Enne&Moffa, starting at 18:00
Mon-Thur 12:00-18:00


Contemporary art in Manchester takes many forms and for me art in a squat was a new experience, including password protected entry for the preview! Speaking with Tape Modern founders Rikka Enne and Sophia Moffa at the opening they explained that the studio had been founded to create an open space for artists to work independently and to collaborate. Food to the Dogs being the first of what they hope to be many exhibitions to be done at Tape Modern” This may, however, be the first and last in the Baring Street building.

Artists: Rikka Enne, Sophia Moffa, Nicola Ellis, Matt Girling, Willow Rowlands and Mutabase

If you want to see Food to the Dogs I would suggest visiting their FaceBook page to make sure the venue hasn’t changed

Contemporary art in Manchester
Nicola Ellis


Paradise Works  – Mental State Signs – Nick Jordan

2-24 June, open Saturdays, 12-5pm or by appointment

contemporart art in Manchester
01 – Nick Jordan

Paradise Works presents Mental State Signs, a solo exhibition of painting, film, photography and found media by artist Nick Jordan. Titled from a clinical term used for assessing mental health disorders, the exhibition explores themes of psychosis and surveillance. Material on display includes schematic diagrams, clinical index cards, archival letters, audio-visual equipment and illuminated signage, which the artist salvaged from an abandoned hospital’s psychiatry video studio.

contemporary art in Manchester
03 Nick Jordan

A central feature of the exhibition is Nick Jordan’s hybrid documentary Thought Broadcasting. A composite of fact and fiction, the film draws upon real-life accounts of a schizophrenic disorder: the belief that one’s thoughts are being transmitted and heard by others. Set against the proliferation of mobile phone masts, the film reveals a fragmented inner world of paranoid delusions and anxiety, off-set with revelations of mass surveillance and data gathering by corporations and security agencies. Part clinical observation video, part psychological horror, the film features an original soundtrack score by Lord Mongo.


Thought Broadcasting Trailer:



Music and Arts Festival at Victoria Baths

Sunday 10 June 2018 – 2pm to 8pm

With its beautiful spaces and vistas, and the colourful hues created by its tiles and stained glass; the setting of Victoria Baths is the inspiration behind its Music and Arts Festival. Taking place on Sunday 10 June, and for the first time, the day will feature an eclectic mix of music, food, art and selection of workshops.

The whole building will be brought to life with lots of different activities taking place for this special Open Day, which will have a relaxed festival-feel flowing through it. In the Sports Hall (former Male 2nd Class Pool) live music will be performed by the Galivantes, RUNAH, Odwana, SHE Choir and The Golden Sinfonia. In the Gala Pool, and spilling outside, there will be food stalls that include Woodstock Pizza, MC Street Food, Gingers Comfort Emporium and I Love Pancakes.

The Superintendent’s Flat will be transformed into an exhibition space with a variety of artists including The Bottega Studio, Nicky Young, Rheanna Macorie and Rosie Simpson

The Pineapple room and Turkish Hot Rooms will play host to a series of workshops, each costing £2.50 and each bookable in advance.
The Tribal Belly Dancing Workshop (2:30-3:30pm) will be a one-hour introduction to the joys of belly dancing to reduce stress and as the ideal way to improve fitness and muscle tone.
SHE Choir (4pm-5pm) is giving all visitors the chance to join them for a workshop, which will start with some vocal warm ups and finish with some singing.
The Art of Drag Workshop (5:30-6:30pm) is a workshop all about the history and art of drag.
The Flower Crown Taster Workshop with Charlie’s Flower Boutique (3pm-7pm) will demonstrate how to create beautiful floral headwear from fresh cut flowers, which is of course the festival accessory!

Admission to the Music and Art Festival Open Day, which is runs from 2pm to 8pm, is £4 / £8 (including a Guided Tour) and free for under 16s and VB Friends. The workshops are a separate cost and bookable in advance at


‘TUC Day’ curated by Dave Haslam as part of Manchester Histories Festival 7 – 11 June 2018

The Manchester Histories Festival (7-11 June) is to celebrate 150 years since the formation of the Trades Unions Congress with a TUC Day curated by Dave Haslam taking place on Friday 8 June.

The day will encompass a series of events and film screenings that will lead people on a journey through some of the key places and spaces across Manchester and Salford that were instrumental in the formation of the Trades Unions Congress in 1868, which brought together representatives of different trades to debate collective action, signifying a landmark moment in the history of British trade unionism and politics.  TUC Day is curated and led by DJ, writer and Manchester Histories creative consultant Dave Haslam, himself one of the figures behind Manchester’s radical spirit.

The events will be staggered throughout the day in diverse venues that collectively narrate the story from the Three Crowns Pub in Salford where the idea was first discussed, to the Mechanics Institute where the first official TUC meeting took place, to the People’s History Museum which is recognised as the national museum of democracy.  The day reaches its climax with an onstage interview between Dave Haslam and the current TUC general secretary, and its first female leader, Frances O’Grady at Manchester Central Library, to shine a light on the present and future, as well as the past of the organisation.


Dave Haslam, curator of TUC Day for Manchester Histories Festival, comments: “It’s been fascinating to put together this programme of events to mark the forthcoming TUC anniversary as part of Manchester Histories Festival.  I’ve tried to create as varied an experience as possible, that unfolds to reveal the story behind the TUC including a visit to the site of Three Crowns pub on King Street in Salford, where the idea of that first congress was mooted some eighteen months earlier.

“I hope that the day gives us a chance to highlight the psychological and social cost of job insecurity in our current era, and ongoing issues, including equal pay, and the chance to debate how workers’ rights can be strengthened in 2018.”

TUC Day Events taking place on Friday 8 June are listed below.  People can take part in the whole day or pick out individual events to attend.

Exhibition Tour: The power of unity – 150 years of the TUC (9:30am-10:15am)

Celebrating 150 years of the TUC and looking at the continuing need for unions now. Join staff from the WCML for a guided tour of the exhibition and the Library’s extensive trade union archives.

Working Class Movement Library, 51 Crescent, Salford M5 4WX

Exhibition continues to 27 Sept 2018

Book at  / FREE

Represent! Voices 100 Years On exhibition

Years On, previews on Friday 1 June 2018 with a reflection of a suffragette scene from over a century ago, when women gathered ahead of the infamous Black Friday protest. 100 years later the scene will be recreated by those people who are continuing to champion the quest for equality.

Represent! Voices 100 Years On opens to the public at the national museum of democracy, the People’s History Museum, on Saturday 2 June 2018. It tells the stories of those who campaigned for better representation; most famously the militant suffragettes, and asks how far we have really come since 1918, when the Representation of the People Act gave the vote to all men and some women in Britain?

Helen Antrobus, Programme Officer at the People’s History Museum, says, “We wanted our opening to reflect the powerful stories that our exhibition will explore, to acknowledge those who have campaigned for equality by looking to those who are continuing this quest today. So we’ve picked a defining moment to connect the past to the present, by asking some of today’s campaigners to take their seats on the platform just as women assembled ahead of the Black Friday protest of 1910. And in doing so we are also highlighting that the words and campaigns of the past are still very much alive in the present, as the exhibition will reveal.”

Taking their #BlackFriday1910 seats will be Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, Sally Lindsay, whose programme Emmeline Pankhurst: The Making Of A Militant will air on BBC NW on Friday 8 June 2018. Erinma Bell, who has campaigned tirelessly against gun crime, and activist groups such as Sisters Uncut, who campaign against cuts to domestic violence services, will also feature on the platform. Forming the backdrop will be some of the replica banners used in the award winning film Suffragette (2015).

On Friday 18 November 1910, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) organised a deputation of 300 women to march on parliament, after the Prime Minister once again refused to give parliamentary discussion to the well-supported Conciliation Bill, which would allow some women to vote. Ahead of the march, the women formed at a meeting in Caxton Hall, led by famous campaigners of the day, including Emmeline Pankhurst, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson – the first woman to qualify as a doctor in the UK and the first female Mayor, her daughter Louise Garrett Anderson, Sophia Duleep Singh, Emmeline Pethwick-Lawrence, Hertha Ayrton, Anne Cobden-Sanderson and Dorinda Neligan.

On their arrival, these women were subjected to the most brutal of attacks. The event has gone down in suffrage history as ‘Black Friday’.

Represent! Voices 100 Years On is a Family Friendly exhibition that is open from Saturday 2 June 2018 to Sunday 3 February 2019. The People’s History Museum is open seven days a week from 10.00am to 5.00pm, Radical Lates are on the second Thursday each month, open until 8.00pm. The museum is free to enter with a suggested donation of £5. To find out about visiting the museum, its full events programme and more, visit



The Manchester Contemporary has announced that Nathaniel Pitt has been appointed Curator. Pitt, the founder of respected gallery Division of Labour, will oversee the gallery roster as well as advising on the Collector Development Program and strategic cultural partnerships, further strengthening the fair’s relationships with collectors, galleries, and institutions in the UK and worldwide.

Pitt was appointed by CEO Thom Hetherington and joins The Manchester Contemporary’s leadership team as the fair prepares to celebrate its tenth edition in 2018. The ninth edition, held last October, saw The Manchester Contemporary host 29 carefully selected galleries, and was widely praised by press and collectors alike for its breadth of UK art and its successful move to its new home at Manchester Central.


The Manchester Contemporary 2018 will be the largest edition of the fair yet, with over 30 exhibiting galleries and an expanded fringe of events and happenings around the city. Hetherington said “We are delighted that Nat has joined the fair as curator. He is both respected and connected within the contemporary art world, and his breadth of experience and energy and ideas will ensure that The Manchester Contemporary continues to develop and evolve.”


“I’m pleased and proud to be appointed as the new curator for The Manchester Contemporary. The Manchester Contemporary is the only UK invitational art fair for critically engaged contemporary art outside London. The fair fosters lasting relationships with art professionals and collectors together with emerging galleries and artists. In the next few months, I will be visiting with galleries, curators, artists and collectors, both familiar and new to The Manchester Contemporary,” commented Nathaniel.

Nathaniel Pitt trained as an artist at Falmouth School of Art in 1997 and gained his MFA from Wolverhampton University 2009 before becoming a fellow at De Appel in Amsterdam, ‘curating in the gallery field.’ Since 2013, Pitt has served as the Director for the gallery Division of Labour, a West-Midlands based not-for-profit dedicated to supporting contemporary art across the UK. With research interests in regional art market development, art and education and collaborative practice, projects have included artists Robert Barry, Victor Burgin, Brian O’Doherty and Carey Young. Pitt has developed an international profile for his gallery, with past presentations in the 2015 Venice Biennale, Brussels, Rotterdam, New York, Hong Kong, Basel, Vienna and Dallas.

The forthcoming tenth edition of The Manchester Contemporary will open with a VIP Preview Opening on Friday 12 October; the fair will be open to the public October 13–14, 2018.  Tickets are available from 1 July 2018 at