Summer in the City – Contemporary art in Manchester – July

Summer in the City – Contemporary art in Manchester – July


I hope you’re all enjoying Summer in the City. The beautiful weather makes you want to go out and make the most of the light nights and warm temperatures. So why not get out and see some of Manchester’s latest exhibitions of contemporary art. I say contemporary, this blog has the not so contemporary Goya and Hogarth exhibition at The Whitworth, but with such iconic names and the contemporary relationship to Brexit, and with some of the works coming from the Manchester Art Gallery collection, it’s well worth a visit. More summer contemporary art comes from #artopenhouse. Now in its third year the ‘Land Marks‘  exhibition is located in an Edwardian terraced house  at 184 Stamford Street in Old Trafford. Artists exhibiting, include Steven Heaton, Kate Davies, and Martyn Lucas.

In last months blog I included an open day of art, crafts and family things to do at the iconic and much-loved Victoria Baths. This month I’ve included an event for Sunday 8th July. The Bridgewater Weekender Festival which, along with Door to Door Poet Rowan McCabe there’s lots of family things to do, with live music, story-telling and it’s all free!!

So for all the details and  what else is on for Summer in the City from Castlefield Gallery, The Portico Library, and Manchester Art Gallery read on:


Land Marks  #artopenhouse 6-8th July

Kate Davies ‘tank’

Now in its third year, #artopenhouse is an artist initiative in which a group of Manchester artists – Kate Davies, Sarah Feinmann, Maggie Hargreaves and Fiona Moate – curate a weekend exhibition. In the intimate setting of an Edwardian terraced house in Old Trafford; it is very much an artist’s house, with lots of colour, pattern and texture which complements the work.

Martyn Lucas ‘Highland Blue’

This year the theme is Land Marks which explores shape and structure gathered from the landscape; memory and experience of place; textured surfaces and neglected corners and the ways in which time and people have put their mark on nature.

Steven Heaton ‘Two Canvases’

The exhibitors are: Paulette Bansal and Jamie Barnes who work with etching, David Armes with print and letterpress, Maggie Hargreaves makes large scale drawing and smaller prints.  Kate Davies, Fiona Moate, Steven Heaton and Martyn Lucas are painters and Sarah Feinmann produces collage and assemblage.

Sarah Feinmann ‘Off Colour’

July 6-8 only Exhibition times: Fri 6-9pm, Sat 1am-6pm, Sun 11am-6pm

Venue: 184 Stamford Street, Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 9LU



Castlefield Gallery – Katerina Eleftheriadou | Rikka Enne | Maite Pinto

6 July 2018 — 12 August 2018 PV 5th July

Katerina Eleftheriadou – ‘Superstitious’ 2017


This summer Castlefield Gallery and Manchester School of Art will launch a new collaboration. The first in a series, the school and gallery will support a biennial exhibition to showcase some of the most promising work being produced by MA and MFA Fine Art graduates from Manchester School of Art. In 2018 those selected to take part have graduated with MAs and MFAs from the school within the last two years.

Following a competitive application process and selection by Castlefield Gallery Curator, Matthew Pendergast and Programme Leader of MA/MFA Fine Art at Manchester School of Art, Ian Rawlinson, the exhibiting artists will include Katerina Eleftheriadou, Riikka Enne and Maite Pinto.  The practices brought together in this exhibition are distinct, yet all three artists will bring their contemporary international perspectives to the gallery.

Maite Pinto_- ‘Vicente and Ana Maria’

Pinto will build upon the Kindness of Strangers, an ongoing project working with archive material relating to the Spanish Civil War and in particular, from the Basque Children Association of ‘37. In 1937 almost 4,000 children travelled to Britain on the steamship Habana. The children were cared for by numerous organisations and individuals in the UK with some remaining indefinitely. For Pinto the project marks both a personal and historical link between Spain and England, and it is particularly poignant in the context of current world politics.

A new piece of work by Eleftheriadou inspired by the strong smells used in the recipes of her mother’s and grandmother’s dishes will form an immersive installation in the gallery, coming together and mixing as if performing a form of abstract cookery. Though the work will reference her own past, the artist is interested in the transnational experience of people living far from where they grew up, and the power of our senses in their ability to, with an instant, transport us to another place.

Riikka Enne_’Empress needs no clothes’ 2018

Enne’s sculptures are made from found objects, often those that have been abandoned in the immediate area the artist is living and working in. The objects are carefully selected based on their particular sculptural qualities, the stories they might allude to or the situation in which they were found. Enne will respond directly to the exhibition space at Castlefield Gallery.

Poet Rowan McCabe and the Bridgewater Weekender Festival

Sunday 8th July

Door to Door Poet Rowan McCabe

Throughout the past two months, Door-to-Door Poet Rowan McCabe has been traveling the length of the Bridgewater Canal through Salford, knocking on doors and collecting as he goes. Residents along the waterway have inspired a series of new poems about their relationship with the Bridgewater Canal and anecdotes from their past: From ice skating to pub along its frozen surface, swarms of midges, cycling, mischievous mink, and a fearless swimming rabbit! Rowan will now perform the new series of poems as part of The Bridgewater Weekender.

The Bridgewater Weekender is a free festival of family fun, entertainment, music, heritage and that marks the birthday of this much-loved local waterway which opened 257 years ago. The celebration will take place at Duke’s Drive on Sunday, July 8, 2018 – 12:00 to 18:00 and it will be the biggest and best yet.

Alongside performances by Rowan there will be lots more for the whole family to enjoy:

Get ready for family friendly den building, bug hunting, making a boat, solving puzzles, pressing apples and playing games.Whatever your age, try your hand at print-making, book binding and willow weaving.Enjoy summer sounds from our live music stage, with a selection of blues, jazz and folk all curated by Manchester’s very own Honeyfeet.

Explore Duke’s Drive for a spot of foraging with Discover the Wild or accompany Professor Jigget on a madcap journey beside the canal.

Get swallowed whole by The Whale for a bit of storytelling, watch George Orange navigate a rope across the moon and look out for Major Hopalot the world-famous Astro-bunny! Enjoy some exciting tasty street food and discover unique hand-made craft items from some of the North West’s most interesting and talented makers

See you on the meadow at Duke’s Drive!



Manchester Art Gallery – Nordic Craft and Design 6 July 2018 – 7 July 2019

1988 178 Jie Johnson fish dish

In July 2018 Manchester Art Gallery opens a new, year-long display of important and influential 20th and 21st century craft and design from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Showcasing furniture, fashion, lighting, ceramics, glass, metalwork and jewellery, Nordic Craft and Design highlights the superb quality and creativity inherent in design from the region and features pieces from 1930 to the present day. Manchester Art Gallery’s collection will be complemented with national and international loans from institutions, private collectors and Nordic design companies. Iconic pieces by Alvar Aalto, Eero Arnio, Nanna Ditzel, Saara Hoppea, Arne Jacobson, Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi and Verner Panton, will sit alongside contemporary work by Mathias Bengtsson, Peter Jensen, Anu Penttinen, Merete Rasmussen and Henrik Vibskov amongst others.

Paul Kedelv ‘Coquille’ (1)

Nordic design is incredibly significant within the history of design and the aesthetic, technical and philosophical approach of designer-makers from the early 20th century to the present day continues to inspire and influence generations of designers and creatives from across the globe.

Designers and makers from these countries have been, and continue to be, at the forefront of exploring new ideas, materials and techniques which have made good, affordable design available to a wide constituency, underpinning a philosophy of democratic and cultural life for all people. The influence of Nordic design can be seen in contemporary art, graphic design, textiles, high-end and high street fashion, advertising and homewares. It has had a major impact on contemporary design and lifestyle commercially, informing the way we live and the things we buy.

Aage Thaarup ‘Hat’

Key pieces in the exhibition include an original chair by Alvar Aalto as part of his 1930s scheme for the revolutionary Paimio Sanatorium in Finland, Verner Panton’s iconic moulded plastic Panton Chair, Arne Jacobson’s ubiquitous Egg Chair and Eero Arnio’s era defining Pastilli chair. Fashion highlights include Vuokko EskolinNurmesniemi’s use of vibrant print from the 1960s, catwalk creations by Peter Jensen, Henrik Vibskov and an ethereal dress from high street favourite H&M’s sustainable Conscious collection. Glass pieces, from Aalto’s timeless Savoy Vase, Tapio Wirkkala’s delicate Chanterelle vase and a selection of Timo Sarpaneva’s monumental Arkipeligo series, will be shown with contemporary pieces by a new generation of glassmakers, such as Ulla Forsell, Lena Bergström and Lotte Karlsen. Poul Henningson’s influential Artichoke light features alongside contemporary lighting such as Harri Koskinen’s Block Lamp and Simon Karkov’s futuristic light from 1969, re-issued as Norm 69 by Danish company Normann Copenhagen. The exhibition will also showcase a selection of pieces by Nordic brands who promote good design such as Arabia, Iittala, Georg Jensen, Onecollection, Louis Poulsen, Stelton and Vestre.

salt and pepper

The exhibition employs a thematic approach that explores similarities and differences across different media and countries. Works will be grouped together around colour, line, shape and nature. Within those themes, the influence of international art movements can be seen from Surrealism and Modernism to Pop art, as well as local influences, from traditional folk imagery to native flora and fauna and the importance of the landscape. A unifying approach can be found in the spirit of experimentation, expressed by pioneering designers from the early 20th century to those working today, particularly the democratic, practical and playful ethos inherent in their working philosophy of good design to enhance quality of life.

An events programme will include designer-maker talks and workshops, festive and mid-Summer events, as well as family activities. The gallery shop also will be featuring a stunning selection of pieces inspired by the exhibition, from Nordic design classics through to up-and-coming young designers work.

Prints of Darkness: Goya and Hogarth in a Time of European Turmoil

The Whitworth 7th July August 2019 

Hogarth and Goya were both outsiders who cast their candid gazes on their dysfunctional societies. Poverty, homelessness, warfare, violence, cruelty, sexual abuse and human trafficking, social inequity, political corruption, racism, superstition, hypocrisy, rampant materialism, nationalism, mental illness, and alcoholism; all were subjected to their forensic scrutiny and no topic was off-limits. Simultaneously attractive and repellent, these challenging prints provoke a spectrum of responses, including shock, discomfort, laughter, and empathy, raising profound questions about the ethics of representation and viewing. The scenarios that they unflinchingly depicted are troublingly familiar to the contemporary viewer, eliciting an embarrassed contemplation of their own society, and themselves.

This exhibition features 100 prints by Goya and Hogarth, selected from the stellar collections at the Whitworth and Manchester Art Gallery. Although both artists are celebrated and represented in museum collections throughout the world, this is the first exhibition to consider Hogarth and Goya in tandem, providing an opportunity to compare their extraordinary graphic work.

Francesco José de Goya Lucientes (1746-1828) and William Hogarth (1647-1764) were the most remarkable artists of their times. Both were extremely successful portrait and history painters, but arguably their most compelling works were the uncommissioned prints they made with dazzling technical virtuosity, using line-engraving (Hogarth) and a combination of etching and aquatint (Goya). Whilst the artists were not working contemporaneously – Hogarth was fifty years old when Goya was born, and died twenty years later – and never met, Goya was almost certainly familiar with Hogarth’s prints, and there are strong affinities between their works.

The exhibition is timely, as it takes place during the troubled run-up to Britain’s exit from the European Union, scheduled for 29 March 2019, and the accompanying fractious debates currently taking place in Europe and elsewhere regarding national identity. Hogarth and Goya both lived through extended periods of warfare with France, and Hogarth claimed to hate the French, although he was a frequent visitor to Paris and hired French engravers for his print series Marriage a-la Mode. Angry, troubled, and ambivalent, Hogarth seems to embody the tortured mind-set of Britain on the eve of Brexit.

The exhibition will feature 50 prints by Hogarth, all drawn from the Whitworth’s collection. Bookended by the South Sea Bubble and his final print, the Bathos, which he published the year he died, the selection includes the serial works – The Rake’s Progress, Marriage a-la Mode, the Times of the Day, and the Four Stages of Cruelty – as well as single prints, including his emblems of British national identity, O The Roast Beef of Old England (Calais Gate) and the Enraged Musician. Drinking culture was a pervasive theme in Hogarth’s work, and Gin Lane, Beer Street, and A Midnight Modern Conversation will be included, accompanied by a Hogarth-themed punchbowl made in Liverpool in 1748. The exhibition will feature 50 prints by Goya, including impressions from all the four series, as well as two etchings made early in his career in 1778, Margaret of Austria and Moenippus Menipo Filosofo.


The Portico Library – BIBLIOTECH – from bookshelf to big data

7th July – 18th August 2018 Free public preview: Friday 6th July, 6pm-8pm

Claire Tindale Photo: Paul Herrmann

Artists Dan Hays, Jane Lawson and Claire Tindale explore the opportunities and challenges that arise as we adapt to new technological formats for storing and sharing information. Over five centuries ago, Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the mechanical printing press revolutionised access to literature, and with it, all aspects of society – from politics and religion to science and education. The subsequent development of libraries and global publishing made it possible for millions of people to access texts from all over the world and now, new innovations allow us to hold entire libraries in the palm of our hand – and transfer them across continents in seconds.

As digital humans, we find ourselves in a world of virtual bookshelves, navigating a course through a seemingly infinite sea of data. While digitisation projects strive to store as much data as possible in the Cloud, what will be the role of books and libraries? Will they eventually become obsolete, or are there particular benefits they will always retain, and how will we, as digital humans, continue to react and adapt our behaviour?

Dan Hays Colorado Snow

Dan Hays is an artist and Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins in London. He has won the John Moore’s Painting Prize and featured in several publications with his oil paintings depicting digital image files and display screens. His website complements his other artworks and acts as a site for discussion around his PhD: Screen As Landscape (the Centre for Useless Splendour).

Jane Lawson exhibits regularly and is Coordinator of Castlefield Gallery’s CG associates development scheme for artists. She helped to set up the radical art and design collective UHC and to organise the first three UK Climate Camps, and has worked as a researcher for Ethical Consumer magazine. She presents here a timeline, loosely defined as being a history of fake news and post-truth, that tries to understand how we have got to a point where we so enthusiastically offer up our personal lives to surveillance, where truth is negotiable, and where we let algorithms play fast and loose with our lives.

Claire Tindale’s work is often site-responsive, as with her installation for The Portico Library, where a forest of hand-cut and 3D printed miniature trees considers the underground networks of fungi through which trees communicate, and their parallels in social and digital networks. Claire has exhibited at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Bloc Projects (Sheffield), Schwartz Gallery (London) and A Small View (Liverpool).