I’ve had the good fortune of sharing my work and investigations with loads of local artists and curators in and around Manchester. For example, yesterday, artist and curator Paul Harfleet was nice enough to open Apartment for one last visit before it closes permanently. The Plaited Fog artist’s collective generously had me up to Preston for a chat and a curry. (Warm thanks to artist and curator Elaine Speight and Rebecca Chesney.)
People usually want to know what I think of Manchester. Invariably, I start by talking about what I’ve learned about Mancunian temperments. I try to contextualize my thoughts as observations. Still, it’s quite surreal — and perhaps a bit presumptuous — to tell people what I think of their attitudes.
While I notice the tendency to down-play enthusiasm, in all fairness I’d like to add that I’ve experienced tremendous hospitality, curiosity, and engagement here. One of the obvious best things about Manchester is its investment in culture; a less obvious (for tourists of only the briefest stays) best thing about Manchester is the local artists’ and curators’ investment in art, culture and community. The art community members I’ve met have been very generous with their time, energy, resources and knowledge, for which I’m very grateful.
Here’s a completely subjective, incomplete list of some of the amazing arts partners in Manchester:
Manchester Art Gallery
City art gallery/museum; like all civic museums in England, admission is free. And people go. Brilliant.
Chinese Arts Centre
Not-for-profit gallery, residency, tea shop
Art/design/arch centre with exhibitions about the urban environment
Not-for-profit gallery/indie film house
Not-for-profit artist led gallery, run by the indubitable Kwong Lee. Castlefield also does TheArtGuide.co.uk, a terrific email newsletter about art events in and around Manchester.
International 3 Gallery
(Semi-)not-for-profit artist-led gallery. Feels like The Mission District.
Artist-led art studio compound with an experimental art school and library, and occasional exhibitions and short residencies. Also functions as a music venue. (Tomorrow, Thursday 4/16, AIR Tara Beall, will talk about her work at 6pm.)
Art studio compound with occasional exhibitions
Love love love this banner, esp given the socialist history of Manchester.
Manchester International Festival
OK, Kanye, Kraftwerk, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, De La Soul and the Happy Mondays might get the big headlines, but Marina Abramovic at the Whitworth, a video installation scored by Damon Albarn, and Jeremy Deller’s procession sound amazing…