Exhibitions in Liverpool and Manchester, Sep 2015

From HOME's new show to some unusual taxidermy, check out our art highlights in Liverpool, Manchester and beyond this September

Feature by Sacha Waldron | 04 Sep 2015

So summer is almost over, did you catch any of it? Did the flying ants attack? Did you regret the four Soleros you ate in one day and curse the corner shop's lack of vanilla Mini Milks? Now we can look forward to increasingly dark mornings, disappointingly wet end-of-season fail BBQs, annoying friends who still have holiday leave and are constantly in Greece and... I don’t know… autumny things – leaves and conkers and all that. But the burning question I know you’re dying to ask is: 'What do we have to look forward to in Northwest art for September?' Well, lots actually… too, too much!

Let’s start with shows across the region that are about to close, which you can just about make if you run run run. First up, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night at Castlefield Gallery. This Launchpad exhibition closes on 6 Sep and is selected from the Castlefield Gallery Associate Members' submissions. Over in Sheffield there is also time to catch the tail end of Art Sheffield: Terminus, at The Scottish Queen until 9 September, features installations by David Cotterrell and new commissions by Ron Wright and Michael Day; Nicola Ellis is exhibiting at Bloc Projects until 12 Sep, and the exhibition Excercises in Empathy (with work by Daria Martin, Ian Whittlesea and Rudolf von Laban) runs until 5 Sep.

Cracking on with openings – in Manchester, HOME is launching its second show in its new space this month. I Must First Apologise... comes from Beirut-based artists Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige and explores the history of online spam and scamming through film, sculpture, photography and installation. If you’re around, the launch event/panel conversation on 12 Sep (2pm) with the artists and curators will be a good intro to the show.

Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre kicks off its autumn season on 19 Sep with two new exhibitions: The Late Great Planet Earth, which showcases work by Manchester-based Hilary Jack, and Modern History Vol. 3, a group exhibition comprised of new commissions and existing work. A continuation of the Modern History exhibition series curated by Lynda Morris that kicked off with Vol. 1 at The Grundy back in April, it runs concurrently with Vol. 2, which opened at The Atkinson, Southport, in August and runs until November. The exhibitions take the theme of ‘Modern History’ and offer different perspectives on cultural, social and political change from artists across different generations, the works reflecting on local and global issues, largely post 1968 to the present day.

In Wakefield, The Hepworth is just about to launch (12 Sep) its new public art commission and exhibition from Des Hughes. Hughes’ work for the show takes on the legacy of Castleford-born sculptor Henry Moore and focuses on the story of Moore’s involvement with Castleford as a community and as a site for sculpture. If you’re travelling over for this, be sure to also catch the excellent Anthony Caro show, which is also on 'til November. Since the weather is still relatively pleasant, you can go one better and catch the free bus that departs from Wakefield Westgate train station every Sat and Sun from 5 Sep to 1 Nov, which takes you between The Hepworth and Yorkshire Sculpture Park where you can catch more Moores and Caros, plus general outdoor art goodness. Check hepworthwakefield.org/sculpturebus for the full bus timetable.

Later in the month, the Buy Art Fair and Manchester Contemporary return to Old Granada Studios (24-27 Sep) with over 500 artists exhibiting and the launch of a dedicated Artist's Studio, where individual artists will be showcased. This year you can see Wolverhampton-based Sarah Stokes, who generally works in watercolour; this platform will be a great opportunity for artists to get their stuff seen and enjoy more potential to sell during the event.

Crikes, we haven’t said anything about Liverpool yet! You still have pretty much the whole month to catch Resource at The Bluecoatwhich includes a bunch of artists who have either made new work or responded to the building’s hidden resources or spaces. Be sure to catch Jack Brindley’s museum-style audio guide and Ian Whittlesea’s library of bootlegged publications.

Over at Tate Liverpool, Jackson Pollock splatters onwards until October. If you’re interested in his work, a good move would be to book on to the Jackson Pollock course (Mondays from 28 Sep until 26 Oct), which takes the form of discussion, lectures and general learnedness. I’ve done a few of these Tate courses now and they are generally top-shelf; I would recommend them especially if you are a newly Liverpool-ensconced art school student – you’ll meet some great people and get to sound like a smug know-all in lectures… at least for a bit.

Over at The Royal Standard, the dubiously titled Clam Jam: An Exhibition of Female Art opens on 5 Sep (preview on the 4th), presenting the work of emerging female artists but also stating that it is not a response to the limited options for female artists or a show about the female body but is rather trying to playfully question the assumptions and just show really good stuff that happens to be by “the ladies.” Nearby at Cactus Gallery you also have until 13 Sep to catch Down in the Dumps, a solo exhibition by Doug Bowen. I don’t know much about this one but the Cactus shows are generally pretty great so just do it.

Elsewhere, six artists who have been part of the Creative Practice MA at Liverpool Hope University have organised a new exhibition at Cornerstone Art Studios at Hope. 'incompatible' runs from 18 Sep to 23 Sep with a preview event on the 17th (6-9pm).

On the more museological front, Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery is playing host to Cotton to Gold – Extraordinary Collections of the Industrial North West (12 Sep-14 Nov) after the exhibition's popular run in London. This eclectic show features items from collections built up by East Lancashire Edwardian industrialists and entrepreneurs and includes Tiffany glassware, Turner watercolours, historic Japanese prints and artefacts from a collection by Blackburn’s Robert Edward Hart that has been described as the ‘entire history of the written word’ – everything from Islamic books to publications illustrated by William Morris. Should be an interesting one to catch.

In Manchester Museum, Burkina Faso photographer Nyaba Ouedraogo opens his new exhibition The Phantoms of Congo River (from Friday 11 Sep to 10 April 2016), which is both an ode to and deconstruction of Joseph Conrad’s 19th-century novel Heart of Darkness. Ouedraogo’s images will be accompanied by some of the museum collection’s own objects from the Congo. This will also be the first exhibition to take place in The Study on the top floor of the museum.

As a final Manchester Museum flag up… this is kind of odd… 'Maude', a tigon (a cross between a lion and a tiger), has just gone on display in the museum. The tigon used to be one of the most famous attractions at Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in the 1940s, and when she died in 1949 the skin was donated to the museum but was never taxidermied and mounted, it was just rolled up and placed in storage. Now, it's been brought back to dead-fake life. Apparently, Maude had a tigon brother called Kliou but no one seems to know what happened to him…

On a last note, if you feel like getting involved in Lakes Ignite, the Lake District's contemporary art festival which we featured back in April, then they currently have a call out for artists who wish to create innovative projects for the 2016 iteration. The deadline for proposals is 9am, Mon 14 Sep. You can find the full artists brief on the Lakes Culture website