Here's our pick of the region's art exhibitions in 2018. The Mancunian art lover is already well catered for with offerings from HOME, The Whitworth, Manchester Art Gallery and The Lowry. But for those more adventurously-minded, Yorkshire's Hepworth Gallery and Sculpture Park, Tate Liverpool and Leeds' Abbey House provide unmissable exhibitions from world-renowned artists including Ai Weiwei and Roy Lichenstein. Read on for the lowdown:
'Ashes' by Steve McQueen | Whitworth Gallery
Steve McQueen’s installation, Ashes, is currently on at the Whitworth and is definitely worth a stop. The piece is a double video projection, on a loop of around 20 minutes. Hanging in the middle of a large dimly lit space, it allows the audience to walk around and view the piece from both sides, although never seen together, they share a soundtrack. It tells the story of a young Caribbean man, both as a carefree young man shot on grainy Super 8 film, hypnotic in his beauty balancing at the front of the boat, with the other side, showing his grave being built and his headstone being carved. This works gives you the chance to understand where McQueen, the Turner Prize winning artist, came from, before moving on to his success as a director of feature films such as Shame, Hunger and 12 Years A Slave.
Fri 22 Sep 2017 - Sun 4 Mar 2018, The Whitworth Gallery, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6ER. Tel: 0161 275 7450, times vary, FREE, www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk
Risham Syed | Manchester Art Gallery
Risham Syed’s postcards of Lahore, currently on at Manchester Art Gallery, explore both the shifting urban landscape of her home city of Lahore, while also looking at the changing gender dynamics and political shifts in Pakistan. Painted as postcard sized, they show the unfinished and neglected construction sites of Lahore, and are an interesting subversion of a typical ‘postcard moment’, and insight into the ‘real’ Lahore.
Sat 30 Sep 2017 - Sun 25 Feb 2018, Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL. Tel: 0161 235 8888, times vary, FREE, www.manchesterartgallery.org
Sonia Boyce | Manchester Art Gallery
Sonia Boyce’s first retrospective opens at Manchester Art Gallery at the end of March. Exploring her work from the mid 1990s onwards, the exhibition includes both her earlier solo projects and later collaborative pieces, as well as a newly commissioned collaborative live work for the exhibition. Her work is informed by her academic practice as professor of Black Art and Design at UAL, London, and she produces a wide range of media including video, sound and photography. Fri 23 Mar - Sun 2 Sep 2018, Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL. Tel: 0161 235 8888, times vary, FREE, www.manchesterartgallery.org
Daughters of Necessity by Serena Korda (pictured) | The Hepworth Wakefield
The Hepworth Wakefield is about 1 hour and 15 mins drive out of Manchester. The Gallery won Museum of the Year by Art Fund in 2017, and has a permanent collection, peppered with iconic pieces by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Current temporary exhibition is Daughters of Necessity by Serena Korda. Korda has selected some works by modern ceramicists to display alongside a collection of her own work. Both existing and new work is being shown, and Korda explores the line between function and sculpture. The Ceramics Fair is being held at the Hepworth in early May, which includes involve a performance and discussion with Korda, in which her 29 individual porcelain mushrooms suspended from the ceiling will be played as bells.
Sat 2 Dec 2017 - Thu 5 Jul 2018, The Hepworth Wakefield, Gallery Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 5AW. Tel: 01924 247360, times vary, FREE, www.hepworthwakefield.org
Roy Lichenstein in Focus | Tate Liverpool
Roy Lichtenstein in Focus, is on at the Tate Liverpool until June and is a rare opportunity to see over 20 of Lichtenstein’s distinctive pieces in one place. One of the most essential artists in the pop art movement, his work is widely celebrated and this exhibition also shows his only piece of art on film which was produced in 1969.
Fri 22 Sep 2017 - Sun 17 Jun 2018, Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 4BB. Tel: 015 1702 7400, times vary, FREE, www.tate.org.uk
A Woman’s Place | Abbey House Museum Leeds
A Woman’s Place is an exhibition celebrating the centenary of women getting the vote, at Abbey House Museum in Leeds. Featuring stories and objects highlighting some of the revolutionary suffragettes, this exhibition offers insights into the struggles faced in the fight for equality with talks and workshops taking place throughout the year.
Sat 20 Jan - Mon 31 Dec 2018, Abbey House Museum, Abbey Walk, Leeds, LS5 3EH. Tel: 0113 378 4079, times vary, FREE, www.visitleeds.co.uk
Ai Weiwei + Alfredo Jaar | YSP
Yorkshire Sculpture Park has an unanticipated amount of distinguished artists work, including that of Ai Weiwei and Alfredo Jaar (read our Jaar preview here). The work of both artists is both political and arresting, often taking place at opposite ends of the scale spectrum. Don't miss Jaar's intimate film poem and light installation, The Sound of Silence (1995 / 2006) in the Underground Gallery before exploring the grounds and witnessing the contrastingly large scale Circle of Animals/ Zodiac Heads (2010) by Ai Wei Wei in front of the main collection of buildings.
Ai Weiwei: Sat 6 May 2017 - Sun 22 Apr 2018, Alfredo Jaar: Sat 14 Oct 2017 - Sun 8 Apr 2018, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, WF4 4 LG. Tel: 01924 832631, times vary, FREE, www.ysp.org.uk
Jez Dolan at PUSH Festival | HOME
As part of PUSH Festival 2018, HOME present an exhibition with artist Jez Dolan, entitled Anders Als Die Andern. Taking inspiration from 1919 film of the same name, which called for tolerance towards gay men, Dolan investigates archives and text in connection to the film. Dolan's work focuses on queer identity and the codification of language due to a need for concealment.
Fri 12 Jan - Sun 4 Mar 2018, HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN. Tel: 0161 228 7621, times vary, FREE, www.homemcr.org
Making, A Life: Peter Hodgson Retrospective | Castlefield Gallery
Castlefield Gallery’s current exhibition Making, A Life: The Peter Hodgson Retrospective celebrates the work of Cumbrian folk artist Peter Hodgson. His work includes glass, leather, ceramics and painting, and often looks at the heritage of his surrounding home, the Lake District and the quirks of his neighbours: the animal and natural world native to the area. An interesting look at what sets a folk artist and “outsider” apart from “professional” artists.
Fri 8 Dec 2017 - Sun 4 Feb 2018, Castlefield Gallery, 2 Hewitt Street, Manchester, M15 4GB. Tel: 0161 832 8034, times vary, FREE, www.castlefieldgallery.co.uk
Personal Feeling is the Main Thing by Chantal Joffe | The Lowry
Chantal Joffe’s exhibition at The Lowry opens in May and explores the humour and physicality of the human body. East London-based Joffe has taken inspiration from her community as well as relationships between mothers, daughters, and women.
Sat 19 May - Sun 2 Sep 2018, The Lowry, Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, M50 3AZ. Tel: 0843 208 6000, times vary, www.thelowry.com
For more of the best art and culture in Manchester and the North West, click here.