Must-See Summer Exhibitions That Are On Right Now

The Summer exhibitions have arrived, and there are some real corkers across the city and into Greater Manchester. Some of these summer-shows close at the end of July, so make sure you don't miss them!

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 3 December 2018

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Kate Haywood @ The Manchester Art Gallery
23rd  February 2018–7thOctober 2018

Since graduating just four years ago, Kate Haywood has emerged as one of the UK’s most distinctive and imaginative new ceramicists, showing at leading venues in the UK and abroad. She makes intriguing, surreal sculptures in finely modelled porcelain with colourful textiles, glass and metallic elements. Frequently inspired by found objects from long ago and far away, Haywood’s works are designed to engage our imagination and senses.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
0161 235 8888


Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition @ Manchester Art Gallery
25th May 2018–22nd April 2019

What stories emerge to frame the visitor’s encounters with the art that they see, and cloak the art that they don’t? How do these stories change over time? Through the work of more than 40 artists, Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination- Repetition considers how public museums reflect and shape our collective imagination, and examines how exhibitions can affect these shared narratives. This exhibition shows how artworks can nurture new stories if they are shown in ways beyond the limited frames of biography and identity.

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3JL
0161 235 8888


Emergence @ Air Gallery Altringham
8th June-30th June

Emergence is a group exhibition featuring the four winners of last year’s AIR Open 2017. Bringing together a collection of new works by April Virgoe, Omid Asadi, Rowan Eastwood and Tristram Aver; the exhibition aims to showcase how each artist has developed over the past year since accepting their awards.

The title of the show is reflective of the underlying themes within the works, bringing into question that which is visible and what is being a concealed; from unseen consequences and obscured images, to hidden depths and meanings. Emergence also signifies that these artists are rising to prominence in the contemporary visual arts scene.

Air Gallery, 30 Grosvenor Rd, Altrincham WA14 1LD
0161 941 1129


Hit the North @Manchester Central Library
19th April- 30th June

From incisive studio portraiture to grand rural vistas, Hit the North celebrates northern photography across five decades. Filling Central Library’s first-floor exhibition space, the show is curated by Manchester-based Hobo Photo, which promotes photography with high-quality roving exhibitions.

Manchester Central Library, St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD


Shonky: the Aesthetics of Awkwardness@ Bury Art Museum
June 2018- June 2019

Artist John Walter curates the new Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness. The exhibition explores the nature of visual awkwardness through the work of various artists and architects.

The exhibition proposes a more celebratory definition of ‘shonkiness’ and showing how it can be used for critical purposes in the visual arts to explore issues including gender, identity, beauty and the body. By drawing together artists and architects whose work has not previously been exhibited together or discussed within the same context, Shonky will allow for new ways of thinking that privilege shonkiness over other aesthetic forms that have dominated recent visual

Bury Art Gallery, Moss St, Bury BL9 0DR
0161 253 5878


Keke Xhu @ CFCCA
5th May 2018 -1st July 2018

The current artist in residence at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art has joined from Birmingham City University for two months, where she is studying for her Masters in Contemporary Arts. Keke’s practice is mostly in oil painting, but she also experiments with different materials and found objects playing with different surfaces and textures.

Recently she has focused on capturing and exploring visually issues of mental health, and her artwork leans towards encouraging audiences to think in new ways about depression. This is a reflection of her personal life and people she has known with depression.

Chinese Centre for Contemporary Art, Market Buildings, 13 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU
0161 832 7271


Bodies of Colour: Breaking with stereotypes in the wallpaper collection @ The Whitworth
4th May 2018 – May 2019

This latest exhibition uses the Whitworth’s extensive and significant wallpaper collection to focus on how imperial attitudes to people are reflected in wallpaper. This exhibition deals with some difficult questions. The wallpapers in this exhibition were designed in Western Europe (and a few in America), but the inspiration for the patterns comes from across the globe.

The popularity of wallpaper grew through the 18th to 20th centuries, at the same time as the rapid expansion of the British Empire; the collection spans these three centuries. The exhibition contains a mix of commercially available wallpapers as well as wallpapers made by artists.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER
0161 2757450


Exchanges @ The Whitworth
24th March 2018 – April 2019

Exchanges sets art and artists together, sometimes in harmony, sometimes in opposition – always with insight and intention.

Works by Gillian Wearing, William Hogarth and Louise Bourgious and Tracey Emin encourage dialogue about expectations of female behaviour. Rebecca Warren and Hayley Tompkins elevate discarded objects to the status of art and challenge our ideas about what should be shown in museums. While Simon Patterson, Jitish Kallat, Roni Horn and Stephen Willats consider how we make order out of a disordered world.

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Rd, Manchester M15 6ER
0161 2757450


Camille Smithwick: Ode to the Untruth @ HOME
6th Jul 2018 – 2nd Sep 2018

Camille Smithwick presents a series of drawings and portraits exploring the mysterious life of Kaspar Hauser, the teenage foundling who mysteriously appeared in Nuremberg in 1828. Allegedly having been held captive in a cell by a mysterious man whose face he never saw, rumours abound about his exact origin, including theories of aristocratic descent.

The enduring appeal of this story is that the truth is unknowable, even to Kaspar himself. Initially living in the local prison, Hauser became a visitor attraction, sharing his stories and drawings with the local people. Despite reports across Europe of his mysterious appearance no light was shed on his origin. Camille Smithwick is an artist and illustrator who enjoys playing with truth and perception, attracted to paradoxes, misunderstandings and laughter.

HOME, 2, Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN
0161 200 1500