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Manchester Art Exhibitions: A broad canvas for art lovers

by Cass Art
Manchester Art Exhibitions: A broad canvas for art lovers

Mention the words “Manchester” and “artists” and many heathens will immediately come back at you with the names the Stone Roses, The Smiths or even George Best. 

While these three legends of music and sport undoubtedly possessed their own aesthetic brilliance, Manchester, with its eclectic range of formal art galleries, outside spaces and workshops could quite easily lay claim to being England's second art city.

Arguably leading the way is Manchester Art Gallery, which attracts over 400,000 visitors every year. This world-class Mosley Street public art venue is renowned for its 19th-century British paintings. It is particularly proud of its collection of leading Pre-Raphaelite works and Adolphe Valette's impressionist paintings. 

Radical Figures
Free current exhibitions include Between The Wars (until October 13); The Tallest of Tales: Alison Erika Forde (until November 10); and Christian Dior: Designer in Focus (until January 12, 2014). You may prefer Radical Figures: Post-War British Figurative Painting (until March 16, 2014); Home, Land and Sea: Art in the Netherlands 1600-1800 (until May 23, 2014); and A Highland Romance: Victorian Views of Scottishness (until September 1, 2014).
 
Lowry illustration
The Lowry is magnificently located in Salford Quays, featuring the works of the legendary “Matchstick Men” painter LS Lowry alongside contemporary exhibitions. Unseen Lowry: Paintings and Drawings from LS Lowry's Home runs until Sunday (September 29), giving a rare, unique insight into his life and career.
 
Hay Wain
For something a little more underground, Artzu Gallery in Hardman Square, calls itself Manchester's “most progressive independent gallery space”. Its recent Spinningfields relocation is a magnet for art lovers, artists, private collectors and corporate art buyers. Artists include figurative painter Robert Jenkins, Stephen Farley and Andrew Hunt – whose latest exhibition is a must-see. 
 
Awol Studios at Hope Mill's former Pollard Street mill hosts over 120 creative individuals and businesses across 81 studios and disciplines including fine art, ceramics, photography, graphics, fashion, crafts, jewellery and sculpture.
 
Kraak is a vibrant gallery and event space on Stevenson Place in Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter. This quirky, recently refurbished building hosts a 2,000sq-ft photographic studio and a not-for-profit gallery.
 
La Soubrette
Cheetham Road's Manchester Jewish Museum is currently staging an art exhibition exploring the expat community of Jewish artists in 20th-century Paris. Still So Much To Learn: Chagall, Soutine & The School of Paris runs until November 24 and shows the important work of Apocalypse en Lilas, Capriccio (1945-7).
Wu Chi Tsung
Manchester has its own thriving Chinese quarter and no tour of its art scene is complete without a trip to Thomas Street's Chinese Arts Centre.
What's your favourite artistic haunt or art exhibition in Manchester?