Review of Manchester Art Gallery, Mosely Street, Manchester
The Manchester Art Gallery has recently re-opened after a £35 million refit. The neo-classical section has now been expanded to almost twice its original size. The gallery has a number of permanent exhibitions with themed 'stories' and displays which highlight how historic and contemporary art and design has been woven into the fabric of the city. Works by LS Lowry and Adolphe Valette are complemented alongside works by artists and designers working in the city today.
Approximately 1,300 objects will be on show, including ceramics, glass, metalwork, furniture, costume and textiles, toys and dolls' houses. An innovative play space aimed at children aged 5-12, the Clore Interactive Gallery, houses artworks including a 17th century Dutch still life painting by de Heem, contemporary video work, historic Japanese armour and modern glass.
Fine art exhibits include a large collection of 19th century pre-Raphaelite paintings including Dante Gabriel Rossetti's 'Astarte Syriaca', and Ford Madox Brown's great Victorian Painting 'Work'. The gallery spaces in the new wing are dedicated to 20th century British art including works by Briget Riley and David Hockney, two artists who are currently campaigning for more money to be pumped into regional arts.
The inaugural exhibition includes a massive installation by Michael Craig-Martin called 'Inhale/Exhale', a single painting that wraps its way round the space from floor to ceiling and is seen as his most important project in Britain for over a decade.