The Whitworth Gallery has now announced an opening date for its new 21st Century digs. The Oxford Road gem has put back its relaunch until Saturday 14 February, following a £15m redevelopment project that sees the gallery extend into Whitworth Park out of the back of the existing 19th Century building with two new wings of elegant glass, brick and stainless steel. This will also mark the introduction of the new Art Garden, designed by Chelsea gold medalist Sarah Price, who co-designed the 2012 Olympic Park gardens in London. With this new life comes a host of new shows and exhibitions to get your brains around, and we’ve picked our top three…
Unmanned Nature by Cai Guo-Qiang
What better way to announce a return than with gunpowder? Chinese-born contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, who provided the firework displays for the opening and closing ceremonies in Beijing 2008 to keep the Olympic vibe going, will be presenting his installation Unmanned Nature. This work is a 45-metre-long, four-metre-high gunpowder drawing, which is a painstaking and intricate use of pre-planning and the spontaneity of flames and explosions to create landscapes from wooden boards, rocks and various other materials.
Johnnie Shand Kydd
Having come to prominence through his intimate capturing of the incipient community of the YBAs in the 1990s, Shand Kydd here presents a selection of works focusing on his yearly trips to the Greek island of Hydra at the invitation of the art collector and Whitworth patron Pauline Karpidas. Casting a convivial eye over the summer confluence of the international art world as they interact, he captures the various generations of artists at their most relaxed and elemental.
Tits in Space by Sarah Lucas
Combining crass with class as only Sarah Lucas and her found art masterpieces can do, Tits in Space provides the gallery with wallpaper, in which multiple pairs of cigarette-encrusted orbs float against a pitch black background to evoke celestial and human bodies. Used as a striking background to a selection of sculptures by the internationally renowned British artist, the show takes in themes of gender stereotypes, war, death and the very way the world surrounds us.
From Sat 14 Feb, Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Road, M15 6ER. Tel: 0161 275 7450, www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk
Published on: Tue 6 Jan 2015