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KNITRONICA Sunday at Big Hands

February 18, 2014

KNITRONICAThis Sunday our art Pub Crawl continues…

KNITRONICA

Big Hands, Oxford Road, 23 February, 1pm. FREE

Artists Sam Meech, Marie Young and Iris Cooper lead this textiles experiment, which uses live music, sampled sound and, yes, knitting machines. Together, they’ve created a “band” made up of a Tenori-on, a MacBook, a hacked knitting machine and other music-making devices. Sit back, listen and watch as music, art and knitting come together. 

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Gucci and Genesis: Pop-up Whitworth. Words and pictures, Hannah Niblett

February 4, 2014

Nice reflection on the Pop Up Whitworth exhibition over in Selfridges from Hannah Niblett on the Institute for Cultural Practice blog

Image of Jacob Epstein's Genesis at Selfrdiges

Genesis (image taken by the author)

If you’ve been into Selfridges in the past three weeks you’ll have seen Genesis; Jacob Epstein’s large, bold, controversial sculpture of a naked, heavily pregnant woman. With her African mouth, Asian eyes, prominent breasts and swollen stomach she fills the department store’s main entrance and is the pièce de résistance of the Whitworth Art Gallery’s latest display; Pop-up Whitworth.

It’s taken me a while to get my head around this. Selfridges doesn’t seem like the obvious home for the Whitworth’s collection. I love the idea of the collection ‘popping up’ (while the gallery is closed for redevelopment) in unexpected locations, sparking off new interpretations and reaching new audiences, but why choose this palace of high-end consumerism?

Collaborations between art and retail are not unheard of. Apparently the V&A has had exhibitions with Habitat, Burberry and Harrods. The Louvre, of course, has an entrance in a shopping mall. Such ventures can reinforce anxieties about dumbing down and blurring boundaries; about cultural institutions pandering to an audience that is no longer able to appreciate a uniquely aesthetic experience, but consumes culture in the same way it consumes high street fashion – driven by desire, scanning the horizon for the next aesthetic fix, in an attempt to fill the void in our fragmentary postmodern lives.

But there is another way of seeing it. In Having One’s Tate Nick Prior describes the most successful twenty-first century museums as ‘reflexive allotropes’. ‘Reflexive’ meaning responsive and self-aware, and ‘allotrope’ meaning something that is capable of existing in two or more different forms. Art galleries don’t have to respond to our hyper-modern culture by either becoming populist, disneyfied distraction machines or by retreating into elitist narratives of high culture. They can do/be both. And everything in between.

Having spent some time working at the Whitworth I know how good they are at being many things to many people. Academics, students, families, toddlers, home schoolers, asylum seekers, teachers, hospital patients; they all think of the Whitworth as their own. The gallery redevelopment is driven by the need to provide space for this increasingly diverse audience.

The Selfridges venture provides a way in for a new audience. This might be well-off professionals who are never in the Oxford Rd area, but might be inclined to go there for an After Hours event. It might be non-residents who visit Manchester for the shopping but don’t know about the city’s cultural attractions. And this allows the Whitworth to show its glamorous side, to borrow a bit of glitter and glitz. It turns out a Picasso print looks surprisingly good next to a Gucci handbag…

That last comment is a bit flippant; it is more complicated than this. Looking at the vulnerable little female figure in one of Tracy Emin’s monoprints, alongside eye-wateringly expensive clutch bags, is a complex and contradictory experience that deserves a bit of time and reflection. I suppose my uncertainty about this exhibition comes from knowing that, if I was in shopping mode, I wouldn’t be stopping to spare this time, in fact I’d probably walk straight past the glass case which dissolves too easily into the visual noise of reflected lights and polished surfaces. I’m not certain the works on paper in this exhibition entirely work. Maybe they’re too small, too subtle; they don’t quite stand up to their new surroundings.

Image of Tracey Emin monoprint in Selfridges

A Tracey Emin monoprint (image taken by the author)

But happily, the same can’t be said about Genesis; she literally stops people in their tracks. Apparently she has elicited a huge range of reactions from passing shoppers; curiosity, enchantment, revulsion, excitement, bafflement… But whatever people think of her, the important thing is they think something – they are momentarily forced out of a consumer mindset into an aesthetic one: Who is she? What is she doing here? Why does she make me feel angry/happy/confused?

She carries the contradictions of her new setting well. In her nakedness, caressing her belly, back turned on all the material desires and exchanges of the store, she challenges those going inside to think about the things that are more important than shoes and handbags. But at the same time she basks in the spotlights and the glamour of her surroundings, her white skin echoing the white interior of the store. Dare I say it; she looks more at home here than she did in the gallery.

I think this is a fearless move by the Whitworth: Striking out into an arena of society that is, in many ways, anathema to what art galleries try to do; exposing some of the most important pieces of the collection to an alien context; creating an experience that is contradictory and perhaps not entirely successful… It shows just how confident and innovative the Whitworth is as a reflexive allotrope –able to embody both populism and elitism, challenging anyone and everyone to engage. I urge you to go and see Pop-up Whitworth before it vanishes on 14th February, leaving empty handbags and crumpled cashmeres in its wake.

More Tuesday Talks at MMU

February 4, 2014

picture-8

Tuesday Talks at MMU

MMU All Saints Campus, New Art & Design Building, Lecture Theatre 403

12pm – 1.30pm, free, no booking necessary

The Tuesday Talks series are a collaboration between the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Metropolitan University, and as the Whitworth transforms into a 21st century gallery in the park, the talks will be held at MMU.

The Tuesday Talks invites leading artists, thinkers and curators to explore the driving forces, influences and sources of inspiration within contemporary art and is programmed by Professor Pavel Büchler and Bryony Bond.

 

4 February

Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson is a curator, art historian, and art critic. He has been Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain since 2006, previously he was the deputy editor of Art Monthly for nine years. He recently wrote about Richard Hamilton’s Swingeing London 67 (f) for Afterall’s One Work series and curated Keith Arnatt: Sausages and Food and Ian Hamilton Finlay at Tate Britain last year.

 

11 February

Stuart Tulloch

Stuart Tulloch is Curator at Ikon Gallery.  He studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and later became Curatorial Assistant at Hatton Gallery. He joined Hayward Gallery, London in 1999 and worked on major retrospective exhibitions of the work of Panamarenko and Malcolm Morley, as well as ‘Facts of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art’ in 2001.

From 2003 to 2012 he was Curator of Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, where he led the gallery to become one of the most respected contemporary visual art venues in the north west of England, producing a programme that included artists Brian Griffiths, Peter Liversidge, Heather and Ivan Morison  and Lindsay Seers.

 

18 February

David Jacques

David Jacques is a multi-media artist primarily involved with film. His practice engages with the subject of history, its narrative interpretations and the interplay between factual and fictional strategies of representation. For this Tuesday Talk Jacques will screen a new short film, The Dionysians of West Lancs. An essay film that weaves through age-old tensions – Acts of Enclosure, defence of the Commons, freedom of association and assembly. The narrative is geographically played out around tracts of land running up the coastline of West Lancashire.

In 2010 Jacques won the Liverpool Art Prize and was shortlisted for the Northern Art Prize. Recent screenings of his work include; Tate Liverpool ‘Art turning Left’, 17th International Video Festival VIDEOMEDEJA Novi Sad Serbia, WNDX Film Festival Winnipeg Canada and Sheffield Fringe at BLOC Projects Sheffield. He lives and works in Liverpool.

Whitworth Pub Crawl

February 3, 2014

Pub_Crawl_Launch_2014_035

Huge thanks to everyone that came along to the launch on Friday. It was a brilliant start to what is all set to be an amazing programme of events. Details of which are all live online for you to peruse here. 

http://www.whitworthpubcrawl.com

Here are some great photographs from Gwen Riley-Jones of Fridays launch. Thanks again to Hey! Manchester, HoneyfeetLes Malheureux and our fantastic volunteer Ged not to mention First Chop Brewing Arm for being such welcoming hosts.

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Whitworth Pub Crawl Launch Party

January 23, 2014

Front

7.30pm – Late

First Chop Brewing Arm,
Unit 3 Trinity Row
Trinity Way
Salford
M3 5EN

The Whitworth may be closed, but our work continues. Join us as we launch four months of art, performance, workshops and courses – all held inside some of the city’s best-loved watering holes.

Where better to start a pub crawl than in a working brewery. This lauch will give a flavor of whats to come, with a special performance from Manchester’s finest ethio-trad, folk-hop band, Honeyfeet. Featuring curated projections from the Whitworth’s collection. Plus a free beer on arrival, this event is not to be missed.

From life drawing at the Briton’s Protection to a live music knit hack at Big Hands, alongside monthly courses from the Workers’ Educational Association at The Anchor: this is the Whitworth’s Pub Crawl. Come have a drink with us.

Join the event on Facebook here…

Tuesday Talks at MMU

January 13, 2014

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Tuesday Talks at MMU

MMU All Saints Campus, New Art & Design Building, Lecture Theatre 403

12pm – 1.30pm, free, no booking necessary

 

The Tuesday Talks series are a collaboration between the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Metropolitan University, and as the Whitworth transforms into a 21st century gallery in the park, the talks will be held at MMU.

The Tuesday Talks invites leading artists, thinkers and curators to explore the driving forces, influences and sources of inspiration within contemporary art and is programmed by Professor Pavel Büchler and Bryony Bond.

 

 

21 January

Simon Patterson

Simon Patterson came to prominence in the late 1980s. He was was included in the seminal exhibition, Freeze curated by Damien Hirst in 1988 and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1996. Patterson has had solo exhibitions throughout the US, Europe and Japan including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Kunsthaus Zurich. His work is included in the public collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

 

28 January

Andy Holden

Andy Holden graduated from BA Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College in 2005. He works with plaster, bronze, ceramics, found objects and images, household paint and printmaking, sound and performance; he has created monumental outdoor sculptures, affordable multiples and complex, poetic events. In 2010 he curated Be Glad For the Song Has No End ~ A Festival of Artists’ Music at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, and he co-runs the record label Lost Toys Records, as well as performing regularly with his band The Grubby Mitts.

Recent solo exhibitions include Andy Holden: Maximum Irony, Maximum Sincerity 1999-2003: Towards a Unified Theory of MI!MS at Zabludowicz Collection, London; Chewy Cosmos Thingly Time at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; Cookham Erratics, Benaki Museum, Athens; Art Now: Andy Holden, Tate Britain and The Desert Project, at Works|Projects, Bristol.

 

4 February

Andrew Wilson

Andrew Wilson is a curator, art historian, and art critic. He has been Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain since 2006, previously he was the deputy editor of Art Monthly for nine years. He recently wrote about Richard Hamilton’s Swingeing London 67 (f) for Afterall’s One Work series and curated Keith Arnatt: Sausages and Food and Ian Hamilton Finlay at Tate Britain last year.

 

Festival of Imagination

January 8, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 12.04.37

Festival of Imagination

For the start of 2014, Selfridges becomes a portal into the creative mind, as we explore the power of imagination to drive the process of innovation and inform the shape of our future.

Open your mind. Be ready to explore. Let the festivities begin.

#imagination

selfridges.com/festivalofimagination

Find out what’s on and when in Manchester’s first festival of 2014.

This is a festival of three halves (and yes, we know that’s not mathematically possible): a series of headline evening talks with some of the UK’s most successful artists, writers, musicians, actors and innovators, a clutch of hands-on lunchtime workshops and – drum roll please – the marvellous Pop-up Whitworth, an in-store version of Manchester’s gallery in the park. And all within the inspirational setting of Manchester’s best loved retail emporium, Selfridges. Read on for full event listings and booking details.

CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS

Wednesday 15 January – Wednesday 19 February 2014, 6pm-8pm, £10

Lower Ground, Selfridges, Exchange Square

Book via 0161 838 0610 or email FOIManchester@selfridges.co.uk

 

A series of intimate, early evening conversations with some of the UK’s most creative minds, from Turner Prize-winning artists and writers to BBC 6Music DJs, actors and designers. Find out more about the creative impulses that drive them; understand the power of the imagination. Ticket price includes glass of wine on arrival and tasting place of San Carlo signature dishes.

Wednesday 15 January, 6pm-8pm

“The artist’s mind”: Richard Wentworth in conversation with Dr. Maria Balshaw

Join one of the most influential artists in the country, a giant of British sculpture and photography, as he talks to Dr. Maria Balshaw about artistic method, experiments and leaps of faith. Maria is the joint director of the Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester City Galleries; the pair has worked together on several projects, notably do it 2013, the critically acclaimed group show that was part of the most recent Manchester International Festival.

Wednesday 22 January, 6pm-8pm

“Creative collaboration”: Ben Kelly in conversation with Andrew Stevens (Graphic Thought Facility)

What makes for good collaboration? Join two of the UK’s most respected graphic and interior designers as they discuss what makes for a productive, creative working relationship. Ben Kelly is the founder of interior design practice, Ben Kelly Design, and is perhaps best known in Manchester for his work on Factory Record’s Haçienda nightclub. His client list reads like a who’s who of British art and culture: from the Sex Pistols and Somerset House to the Design Museum and Vivienne Westwood. Andrew Stevens, meanwhile, is the co-founder of Graphic Thought Facility, the London-based design consultancy responsible for projects, books and campaigns for the likes of Frieze Art Fair and the Gagosian Gallery; the studio was profiled in a dedicated exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. Ben and Andrew regularly work together.

 

Wednesday 29 January, 6pm-8pm

“The writer’s mind”: Jeanette Winterson, introduced by John McAuliffe

Jeanette Winterson is one of the UK’s leading literary minds, a multi award-winning writer who has published countless novels, short stories, children’s books, essays and TV adaptations including the celebrated novel, Oranges are not the only Fruit. Also a professor at The University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing, join us as Jeanette gives an energetic, stand-up talk about her work. Jeanette’s session is introduced by the poet and founder of the Centre for New Writing, John McAuliffe.

Wednesday 5 February, 6pm-8pm

Danger: Imagination at Work”: Jeremy Deller, Mary Anne Hobbs and Dave Haslam in conversation

Our ability to imagine and to create new ideas, worlds and concepts is often used for the common good. It fuels scientific discovery. It underpins the best art, literature, music, design and architecture. But the imagination has a dark side, too. Explore its subversive side in a one-off conversation between Turner Prize-winning artist, Jeremy Deller, BBC Radio 6 Music DJ, Mary Anne Hobbs and the DJ and historian, Dave Haslam. In a talk that ranges from William Blake to Johnny Rotten, find out just how disruptive the imagination and creative vision can be – and how the imagination has fed countless cultural and social revolutions.

Wednesday 12 February, 6pm-8pm

“The theatre of the mind”: Maxine Peake in conversation with Sarah Frankom

The acclaimed theatre and television actress, Maxine Peake, has had a long and fruitful relationship with Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre. In 2014, she becomes its Associate Artist, a role that will see her work even more closely with its artistic director, Sarah Frankom. Join both Maxine and Sarah for an intimate conversation that explores the impulse to create drama – and which uncovers the creative process behind theatre, radio and TV drama. This talk has been arranged with the support of the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Thursday 20 February, 6pm-8pm

“Fashion, science & the imagination”: Helen Storey in conversation with Caryn Franklin, introduced by Jean M. Franczyk

Helen Storey MBE is an artist and designer whose early career in fashion saw her win multiple awards for design and innovation. Since 1997, Helen has pioneered work that brings art and science together, and later set up the Helen Storey Foundation. She continues to broker audacious fashion and science projects for social purpose and is a Professor of Science Fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and London College of Fashion. Helen’s recent project, Catalytic Clothing, uses nanotechnology to create ordinary clothes able to purify the air; it was a major part of Manchester Science Festival in 2012 with which she continues to have strong links. Helen met Caryn Franklin while both were studying design at Kingston Polytechnic in the early 1980s. Caryn Franklin MBE is a fashion expert and campaigner who was co-editor of i-D Magazine in the 1980s and presented the BBC’s The Clothes Show for 12 years. She was also co-chair of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer for 17 years, co-founded the award-winning All Walks Beyond the Catwalk and is an ambassador for the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. Don’t miss a fascinating talk between two long-time collaborators that touches on science, art and the creative process. The talk is introduced by the director of the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, Jean M. Franczyk and has been arranged with the support of MOSI.

IMAGINATIVE LUNCHTIMES

Thursday 16 January, Friday 17 January, Thursday 23 January, Friday 24 January, Thursday 30 January, Friday 31 January, 12.30pm-1.15pm, free (drop in)

3rd Floor, Womenswear, Selfridges, Exchange Square

 

Use your lunchtime imaginatively with our series of drop-in, hands-on workshops and talks that allow you to unlock the creative power of your imagination, or simply inspire you to see the world in a different way. Places are very limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Thursday 16 January, 12.30pm-1.15pm

Alternative Camera Club (workshop)

Learn street-style photography in this one-off, Instagram-based workshop where the only kit you’ll need is the smartphone in your pocket. The Alternative Camera Club is a Whitworth Art Gallery-based club that takes a more considered, conceptual approach to photography. With regular guest artists and speakers, it’s a place to get inspired – and it comes to Selfridges for this one-off, hands-on session. No experience necessary but you will need to bring your own Smartphone as participants will take pictures using their ‘phones during the workshop.

Friday 17 January, 12.30pm-1.15pm

Manchester Urban Sketchers (workshop)

See the world through an artist’s eye with this on-location art workshop run by the founder of the Manchester Urban Sketching group, Simone Ridyard. Bring drawing materials with you and learn the basics of urban sketching before heading out into the store to take inspiration from its imaginative displays. Regroup for an impromptu exhibition of your work and take tips from Simone and your fellow sketchers. No experience necessary but please bring drawing materials with you.

Thursday 23 January, 12.30pm-1.15pm

Alternative Camera Club (workshop)

Learn street-style photography in this one-off, Instagram-based workshop where the only kit you’ll need is the smartphone in your pocket. The Alternative Camera Club is a Whitworth Art Gallery-based club that takes a more considered, conceptual approach to photography. With regular guest artists and speakers, it’s a place to get inspired – and it comes to Selfridges for this one-off, hands-on session. No experience necessary but you will need to bring your own Smartphone as participants will take pictures using their ‘phones during the workshop.

 

Friday 24 January, 12.30pm-1.15pm

The reading room (talk)

Is your 2014 resolution to kick-start your writing? Get inspiration from three of the North’s leading authors as they each pick a short story to read to you – in an intimate, one-off reading. Emma Jane Unsworth’s first novel, Hungry, the Stars & Everything won a Betty Trask Award, while her short story, I Arrive First was included in The Best British Short Stories 2012 (Salt). Richard Hirst’s story, School Report was joint winner of the 2011 Manchester Fiction Prize, while Marli Roode’s debut novel, Call It Dog, was shortlisted for the 2013 Dylan Thomas Prize. Her short story, Pieces Green, was also shortlisted for the 2011 Bridport Prize. Join all three at Selfridges in January.

Thursday 30 January, 12.30pm-1.15pm

Crafternoon Tea on Tour (workshop)

The Whitworth’s popular Crafternoon Tea sessions are a social kind of affair, drop-in workshops where you get to try your hand at the latest contemporary craft techniques. In a one-off event for the festival, Crafternoon Tea goes on tour, bringing craft into Manchester’s best-loved retail emporium and taking its inspiration from the fashion and merchandise in-store. Join us and get making. All materials provided, no experience necessary.

 

Friday 31 January, 12.30pm-1.15pm

Thinking with Dinosaurs (talk)

Refresh your lunchtime brain with this rather insightful talk between Dr. Phil Manning, one of the country’s leading paleontologists, and Nick Merriman, Director of the Manchester Museum. It provides a quick-fire introduction into the captivating study of life on Earth, including Phil’s international work on excavating dinosaurs (often filmed by the BBC and National Geographic). But as well as capturing the imagination of the public since the early 19th century, this lively talk on dinosaurs, fossils and life will uncover how imagination itself, alongside scientific enquiry, helps resurrect, reconstruct and understand dinosaurs.

POP-UP WHITWORTH

 

See work by some of the world’s greatest artists at the Pop-Up Whitworth. Although the Whitworth Art Gallery is closed for much of 2014 for a major redevelopment, fourteen of its internationally important collection of paintings, drawings and prints – some of its greatest treasures – go on display at Selfridges in January and February. The Pop-Up Whitworth is an unprecedented opportunity to see works by artists such as Peter Blake, Lucian Freud, Albrecht Dürer and Tracey Emin outside of a major gallery.

The Pop-Up Whitworth features three, themed displays:

  • Great British Art. Large-scale installations of oil paintings and sculpture by 
some of the best modern British artists, including works by Jacob Epstein, Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley and Peter 
Blake.
  • Great British Women. Smaller, more intimate works by some of Britain’s leading women artists, including Tracey Emin, Cornelia Parker, Paula Rego and Rachel Whiteread.
  • Historic Greats. Small-scale artworks by historic greats such as Albrecht Dürer, William Blake, J. M. W. Turner and Pablo Picasso.

read more on Creative Tourist here…