The Manchester Weekender: A three day cultural extravaganza hits the city's streets

By Nick Owen | 10 October 2011
Manchester Weekender
As if four separate festivals, an art triennial and the opening of high-profile exhibitions weren’t enough, a full weekend’s worth of extra special events have been created for the Manchester Weekender 2011.

Handpicked by, the 70 events include workshops, performances and screenings across the city, kicking Manchester into cultural overdrive.

The Weekender launches with an evening of cabaret and cocktails at the opening of Adolphe Valette: A pioneer of Impressionism in Manchester at the Lowry with music from sophisti-pop duo Swing Out Sister.

The two will serenade the city with a selection of songs from Mancunian bands including Joy Division, The Smiths and New Order, all performed with a soupcon of glamorous French influence.

The Valette exhibition sits wonderfully alongside the incredible Ford Maddox Brown show at Manchester Art Gallery, both of which celebrate artists alien to the city who eventually became defined by it.  

The weekend also coincides with two of the city's great art coups, the UK’s only triennial and a fantastic exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery.

The Asia Triennial Manchester sees some of Asia’s most prominent artists, including Pakistani multimedia artist Rashid Rana and Indian painter N S Harsha, tackling the theme of time and generation.

With more than 40 artists involved in the triennial, covering the entirety of the shows on offer would take more than the weekend itself.

Jarvis Cocker
Jarvis Cocker
© Rankin
Therefore, make sure to get yourself down to the Whitworth Art Gallery for Whitworth After Hours, which sees photographic collective BlackLab respond to its superlative Dark Matters exhibition.

Watch as images collide and collude with film, soundscapes, slogans and texts amid works from ten international artists, including triennial standouts Ja-Young Ku’s The Veil and Hiraki Sawa’s Did I?

Turning to the world of fashion – or is it science? – Primitive Streak tells the story of the first 1000 hours of human life in a collection of stunning designs.

Six dresses and a hat designed by sisters Kate and Helen Storey will go on display in Debenhams’ shop window and at the Royal Exchange, including their ‘Sperm Dress’.

For music, Denis Jones’ enquiry into whether music sounds different in 3D promises to be particularly interesting, if not a little bizarre.

Using a loop station and all manner of samplers and effects, Jones creates vast, complex orchestrations of beat-box rhythms, multi-layered vocals and other-worldly sounds, veering from subtle heart-wrenching folk to heavy bass-driven electronica.

To close the weekend make sure you don’t miss ‘Close Up’ at The Great Hall, with a talk by none other than his gangliness himself, Jarvis Cocker.

Framed by the building's stunning Ford Maddox Brown murals and marking the publication of a book of his song lyrics, Jarvis will be discussing what it means to be a man-of-ideas-and-artistry as well as a cultural provocateur.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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