Exhibitions
The Manchester Review

Idris Khan, The Whitworth, reviewed by Alicia J. Rouverol

From a distance, Idris Khan’s newly commissioned wall drawing in Whitworth Art Gallery, with its etched, ink-colored surface, resembles something akin to an elongated whorl, or a flattened animal pelt—if on a monumental scale. At closer observation, one discovers the image comprises lines of text, repeated and overlaid, and printed using a rubber stamp. This […]

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The Manchester Review

Imitation of Life: Melodrama and Race in the 21st Century , HOME, reviewed by Şima İmşir Parker

Imitation of Life: Melodrama and Race in the 21st Century, Home, 30 April 2016 – 3 July 2016. “The melodramatic body is a body seized with meaning” writes Peter Brooks in “Melodrama, Body, Revolution.” Body is not only a sight branded with meanings and symbolism, but also a sight where resistance becomes possible through the […]

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The Manchester Review

Lee Machell, On Paper, OBJECT / A, reviewed by Ashley McGovern

Lee Machell: On Paper, December 11 2015 – February 13 2016, OBJECT / A, Friends’ Meeting House There is something essayistic about the title of Lee Machell’s latest show at Manchester’s Object A gallery. On Paper sounds like the laconic lead-in to a short treatise on the notorious fear of the plain blank sheet that […]

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The Manchester Review

Show Me the Money, People’s History Museum, Manchester, reviewed by Emma Rhys

Show Me the Money: The Image of Finance, 1700 to the Present, The People’s History Museum, Manchester, 11 July 2015–24 January 2016 After viewing this excellent exhibition at the People’s History Museum – containing a wide variety of dynamic works by artists from the eighteenth century to today, as well as economic artefacts and enlightening […]

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Ian Pople

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, National Portrait Gallery, London, reviewed by Ian Pople

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, National Portrait Gallery, May 2015 Madame Ramon Subercaseaux sits tilted back away from the piano on whose keys rests her right hand.  Her tilted form creates a diagonal with her head to the right and her train to the left under the keyboard.  A colour contrast forms the other […]

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The Manchester Review

A-Bomb on Broadway, Nexus Art Cafe, reviewed by Emma Rhys

A-Bomb on Broadway, 1121 Collective, Nexus Art Cafe, Manchester, 2nd-7th February 2015 A-Bomb on Broadway is a performance-art piece carefully crafted and brought to life by the 1121 Collective – a new theatre company based in Manchester. With A-Bomb, this new amateur group have created a professionally staged and passionate piece of dynamic theatre and […]

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The Manchester Review

LS Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life Tate Britain, London, reviewed by Ian Pople

When my companion suggested that we go to the Lowry exhibition at Tate Britain, my reaction was lukewarm at best. Surrounded by Lowry as we are in Manchester, one feels as though Lowry’s ‘matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs’ are too well known as it is. And the exhibition has also divided the critics; […]

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The Manchester Review

Miró: Sculptor, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, reviewed by Simon Haworth

by Simon Haworth

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Andy Warhol, Late Self-Portraits and Eduardo Paolozzi, Moonstrips Empire News, Graves Gallery, Sheffield

Andy Warhol: Late Self-Portraits is one of the smallest exhibitions I’ve seen recently. Being generous, it extends over two rooms of Sheffield’s Graves Gallery, but one of those rooms is in fact devoted to pictures of, and interviews with, people who knew Warhol. Nevertheless, the one room of self-portraits – paintings and photographs from the […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

René Magritte, The Pleasure Principle Tate Liverpool

Tate Liverpool’s new exhibition of René Magritte’s paintings and photographs is titled The Pleasure Principle after one of his paintings, but the idea of pleasure is one that permeates every work in this stunning exhibition. For it would take a particularly stony-faced gallery visitor not to break out into a smile at some point in […]

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Jo Nightingale

Dawn Rowland, FRBS, 1 New York St, Manchester

When my other half told me he’d spotted a Modernist sculpture exhibition I didn’t know about in the city, I thought he was just trying to impress me. Quite where he’d glimpsed it was another matter, but then the foyer of one of Bruntwood’s city centre office blocks isn’t an obvious location. Although Dawn Rowland […]

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The Manchester Review

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Arshile Gorky, A Retrospective/Van Doesberg & the International Avant-Garde, Tate Modern, London

If there’s some bad news for art lovers who haven’t been to London recently, it’s that there’s less than a month left to see the Arshile Gorky retrospective at Tate Modern. The good news is that there are seven weeks left to see its partner exhbition, Van Doesberg & the International Avant-Garde. The Gorky exhibition […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

John Baldessari, Perfect Beauty/Pop Life, Tate Modern, London

Walking around London at present, it’s easy to think that Pop Life is the only exhibition on offer at Tate Modern this winter: Jeff Koons’ silver bunny shines at you from innumerable billboards like a sanitised version of Donnie Darko’s rabbit nemesis desperate for your cash. Were this the case, you might feel ready to […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Mark Wallinger curates The Russian Linesman; Leeds City Art Gallery

In our era of shows curated with an exhaustive, almost claustrophobic, focus on a single artist or art movement, Mark Wallinger’s show The Russian Linesman at Leeds Art Gallery is a rare beast. Touring after a stint at the Hayward in London, the show takes in sculpture, painting, drawing and video art, and ranges in […]

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Simon Richardson

Reality Hack: Hidden Manchester, Urbis, Manchester

Urbis’s latest city-themed exhibition offers a peak at the startling beauty of some of Manchester’s neglected vistas. Photographer Andrew Paul Brooks has sought high and low for scenes of enchantment tightly woven into the city’s fabric. The result is an impressively presented, if slightly blinkered, survey of hidden Manchester. With his camera, Brooks has documented […]

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Ian Pople

Glenn Brown at Tate Liverpool; George Always, Portraits of George Melly by Maggi Hambling, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

The paintings in room one of Glenn Brown’s exhibition at Tate Liverpool are versions of sci-fi sublime: science fiction landscapes with cities on planets, swirling gas-clouds and nebulae with space stations.  These are huge wall-sized canvases; often enlarged from small air-brush cartoons in sci-fi magazines.  Brown’s debts to the romantic sublime of John Martin are […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Rodchenko & Popova, Tate Modern, London

The posters for last year’s Royal Academy exhibition From Russia bore a Matisse painting as their crowd-grabbing image. In doing so, they were, unwittingly or not, reflecting the unspoken theory that most of the decent art in Russia is actually non-Russian, the spoils of World War Two. Russians, it seems, are allowed to do novels, […]

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Susie Stubbs

Black Panther: Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution, Urbis, Manchester

It’s business as usual at the White House. The joyous uproar that greeted Barack Obama’s inauguration, the happy incredulity that accompanied America’s decision to install its first black president, is beginning to subside. Obama is busy dealing with an economy on its uppers; the colour of his skin is less an issue than his ability […]

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John McAuliffe

Francis Bacon, Tate Britain, London

Francis Bacon is presented, in his third Tate Britain retrospective, as a straightforwardly thematic painter: the exhibition’s ten chronologically-arranged rooms consistently refer the viewer to the Cold War, World War 2, the illegality of homosexuality, the decline of organised religion.  Although Bacon regularly objected to any narrative readings of individual paintings, he becomes here the story of […]

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Peter Sansom

Leva Krumina, Nobody, The Whitworth, Manchester

There’s the upstairs and round and about to walk through of Finland, Japan and (most interesting to me actually) the UK, but it happens to be this gallery first, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia (places I’m not sure exactly where they are) – and immediately I’m given pause and, well, transported. And not least by this medieval […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Late Rothko, Tate Modern, London

Poor Mark Rothko. An intensely private individual whose brooding canvases are enough to reduce one to existential uncertainty (why is that painting moving?), has been rendered banal by over-reproduction of his works – a framed, poster-sized reproduction of sunshine yellow and burnt orange hanging on the wall is as predictable an element of a dinner […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Cold War Modern, Design 1945-1970, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Five years ago the V&A attracted bumper crowds for its Art Deco exhibition, with sellout crowds flocking to see the eclectic mix of everything from footage of Josephine Baker dancing to radio sets the size of an average sideboard. Using the same template of a mix of everything from cars to posters, the museum has […]

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Ian Pople

Sophie Ryder and Isamu Noguchi, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

It was a bright sunny Saturday for a change, this summer, and the main car park was full at Bretton Hall, home of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The terrace of the main restaurant was full, too, and the wasps were out. Sophie Ryder’s Lady Hare sculptures are oddly ambivalent things. Barry Flanagan’s series of hare […]

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Simon Haworth

Alison Stolwood, Shadowland-Albion-Burial (Excerpts)

SHADOWLAND The artist states that her work, “deals with what is un-seen. Although I operate primarily within the terms of a landscape image, my work concerns aspects of social and personal description as well as the the transience of things. My images are in a sense sets for a potential drama, a scene of anticipation. […]

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