Saturday, 7 February 2009

cultural contemplation or art and the new monasticism...

whether its abbeys offering Monastic Taster Weekends or museums advertising for live-in hermits, its seems the whole country is in contemplative mood.

perhaps its the effects of blizzard britain with the heaviest snowfalls since 1991 paralysing much of the country this week, the transport system and road networks grinding to a halt and whole counties north and south snowed in and cut off in whats being called The Whiteout.

but for some of us (call us foolish romantics if you must) bemoaning the distinct lack of fluffy white stuff in our perpetually damp city, at least there are plenty of openings, exhibitions, events and cultural activities finally auguring in the new year. if we cant join the rest of the nation in frolicking about in cath kidston wellies building snowmen and sledging down hillsides on old teatrays then we can at least gather together in warm art galleries to admire the latest shows....and after the doldrums of january, god knows we need it. there's so much happening the next few weeks i can barely keep track of it all so here's a little overview for our calendars so none of us miss out. and who knows maybe i'll see you at some of them!

we are spoilt for choice this weekend with three big shows currently dominating the city – interspecies at cornerhouse explores the relationship between humans and animals and challenges the authority of the human species over all other animal species. promoted by the arts catalyst as part of the 200th anniversary of darwins birth interspecies is peculiar, unsettling and instructive. dont miss it...

castlefield gallery launched Private Party. Keep Out on thursday evening, a solo show of new and existing work by Manuel Saiz. his work addresses the identity of the artist and the way in which they interact with the institution, the audience and society at large, a subject that constantly puzzles and intrigues me. there's an interesting programme of screenings and events supporting this exhibition which definitely warrant closer inspection. private party can be seen from 06 February 2009 to 22 March 2009.

subversive spaces previewed last night at the always wonderful whitworth art gallery and what a glamorous night it was too, stuffed to the rafters with art types, bigwigs and hangers on of every description. viewing a labyrinthine show of this kind is nigh on impossible at a preview but the show continues to May 4 so you might well spot this sprightly spinster lurking around its many nooks and crannies over the coming weeks.

if a brisk walk sounds just the ticket then tomorrow’s ‘ardwick heritage trail’ might be up your street. organised by the ardwick history project it echoes my own recent tour of brunswick but with the added attraction of a fully trained official blue plaque guide. it is sadly already fully booked. if anyone managed to get a place on this do report back, as i’m disappointed to have missed out…more are promised so i shall keep you posted.

or if you are looking for some urban contemplation and hauntingly beautiful modern gothic with your sunday brunch there is still time to catch two exhibitions at either end of northern quarter, with reality hack hidden manchester showing at urbis, and jane samuels beautiful abandoned buildings project at nexus arts on dale st, just off Oldham st. it has a great cafe too, welcoming and independent...

i don’t often do theatre but im plugging two upcoming events at the contact. Song of Songs by sonia hughes opens on wed 11 Feb at 8pm, showing until Sat 21 Feb. if my personal recommendation does not tempt you (and if not, why not!?) then take lyn gardner’s word for it in the guardian;

"this is not so much a performance as a gift - one that comes straight from the heart. It is not often, at the end of a show, that you long to rush up and hug the performers, but I had to resist the urge after this piece… beautiful, fragile and authentic work, which finds the extraordinary in the ordinary lives of real people"

and contact later in the week hosts a wickedly counter revolutionary valentine day special by the daunting and demonically delicious in David Hoyle: Love For All: 'Truly. Madly. Deeply. A night of unconventional love...'

in fact february 14 is an essential date for your diaries, and not for the tediously predictable clinton cards industry. celebrate your personal love affair with the city starting at 2pm at pavement gallery, in the old drapers window of manchester mets righton building, for the launch of kamera kinetics, 3 short films by william raban. follow this with kiss of a lifetime at 7pm at rogue gallery, giving you enough time to pop over the mancunian way to delight in the aforementioned truly madly deeply with the divine david hoyle at the contact at 9pm!

finally don’t think of missing the preview of Giorgio Sadotti at apartment, 6pm- 9pm on thursday, 19 february. this is apartments final show so its bound to be extra special and just a little bit emotional. details of subsequent viewings on their blogsite as usual.

happy contemplative february...

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