Manchester’s cultural bounceback is in full swing, with a huge range of art events and exhibitions happening across the city this month. Catch a display of rarely seen works from an Italian old master, learn about the city’s constructive and creative responses to the coronavirus pandemic, or get stuck in with a beginners’ painting workshop at this year’s Manchester Art Fair. 

Don’t miss out on these five must-see exhibitions happening throughout November. 

Fully Awake | Holden Gallery | Fri 5 Nov - Fri 17 Dec | 12pm - 6pm

Fully Awake 6.6 is the final show of a six-part cycle of exhibitions involving artists and art educators in the UK. The exhibition series takes a unique approach to curation – each version of the show sees several artists invited to exhibit their work, on the condition they invite two ‘guests’, who will also submit work to be exhibited. One guest must be an artist they have been taught by; the other must be an artist they have taught. 

This unusual invitational process creates unexpected networks across generations and art styles, celebrating the practice and teaching of painting. Fluid collaboration and connection gives a unique insight into the state of painting across British art schools from the 1950s to today. This exhibition acts as the grand finale to an exhibition cycle that will eventually have involved 234 artists over a three-year period. 

Manchester Metropolitan University, Grosvenor Building, Cavendish St, Manchester M15 6BR
Bellotto: Views on a Fortress | Manchester Art Gallery | Sat 20 Nov 2021 - Sun 27 Feb 2022

Views on a Fortress reunites four paintings from Bernado Bellotto, placing them in conversation with responsive works by Der Zivilist, a collective of artists and students from Manchester School of Art. 

In 1756-58, Venetian-born Bernardo Bellotto (1722-1780) painted Königstein fortress, a garrison on a crag about 25 miles south-east of Dresden. Now, for the first time in 250 years, Manchester Art Gallery is reuniting two interior views of the fortress from its collection with two exterior views on loan from the National Gallery and The Derby Collection. 

Der Zivilist has collaborated with the gallery to create a range of works in relation to Bellotto. These works offer a reflection on how we may use contemporary imaginings of historical works to understand our own lives and experiences of the modern world. 

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL
Jim Moir: Return of the Gas Miser | Contemporary Six | Sat 13 - Sat 27 Nov

You probably know Jim Moir as cult surrealist comedian Vic Reeves, half of celebrated double act Reeves & Mortimer. However, you might not be aware that Moir is also a visual artist who’s been making paintings, prints and drawings since the 80s. 

This solo show at leading Manchester art gallery Contemporary Six sees Moir present art that captures the surreal humour you’d expect from Vic Reeves, along with some unexpectedly poignant works. Come ready for a range of mediums and subjects, from bizarre self portraits, to pencil studies of sad superheroes on the loo and delicate watercolours of garden birds. 

37 Princess St, Manchester M2 4FN
Suzanne Lacy: What kind of city? | The Whitworth | Fri 26 Nov 2021 - Thu 10 April 2022

In her first major UK exhibition, US artist Suzanne Lacy presents a project that takes key works with relevance to our current context and uses them to bring people together to start new initiatives that will actively help rebuild our city. 

In a world dealing with the fall-out of the coronavirus pandemic, Lacy’s project addresses major topics such as social cohesion, borders, and youth agency. It seeks to exist as an evolving manual for how we create fair transformation in our society. It all begins with the question: after Covid, what kind of city can we make when we work together?


Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER
White Circle Manchester Art Fair 2021 | Manchester Central | Sat 20 - Sun 21 Nov

As one of the UK’s most ambitious art fairs, White Circle Manchester is set to play a powerful role in the city’s cultural comeback. There will be works from over 500 UK and international artists on display, along with drawing workshops, print demonstrations and kids’ craft activities. 

Take part in a painting class for beginners, learn about the journey from Realism to Abstraction, or kick back in the cafe and enjoy coffee, lunch, or a glass of fizz whilst surrounded by original art and sculpture. 

We even have a limited amount of free tickets to give away for the festival, grab yours below.

Windmill St, Manchester M2 3GX
Mon 1 Nov - Tue 30 Nov
Rachel Kevern
Published on:
Mon 8 Nov 2021