an art-filled day in manchester

Last month, we spent a day gallery-hopping in Manchester, hitting up the Holden Gallery for Not: The Art of Resistance, the Cornerhouse for Playtime and finally, the Manchester Art Gallery to check out the Clore Art Studio. It’s been a long time since we’ve been to the galleries in Manchester, so I was looking forward to it (and also because our last trip to Manchester had just been sub-par). We swung by the 8th Day Co-op when we arrived, to pick up some extras for lunch as well as some amazing orange-scented soap, and then started our day at the Holden Gallery.

Not was an all right exhibition. It was a challenge to actually focus on the art when one kid was running off in one direction and another in the opposite direction. But the gallery space is bright, beautiful and quiet, and I like hanging out there, even if I’m not able to look at the art properly. Art school students traipsed past us every so often as Ares plodded across the hardwood floors. Raspberry delighted in watching the video pieces, holing herself up in the dark, curtained spaces and yelling at me to go away whenever I popped my head in to see what she was up to (it’s nearly impossible to watch a video in a gallery when you have a mobile baby so I didn’t even bother trying to watch the videos).

We headed over to the Cornerhouse and had our lunch there and I learnt, disappointingly, that our homemade hummus doesn’t work very well as a spread on a cucumber sandwich and that pineapple yogurt isn’t all that. On the bright side, I was excited for the Playtime exhibition, as it promised to be interactive, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Always a fan of art she can physically engage in, Raspberry thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition. After all, there were swings to swing on, records to spin (she learnt how to use a turntable) and with the encouragement of the guy working there, doors to crash through loudly (her absolute favourite part, so much so that she went through, shrieking gleefully, multiple times until she was exhausted; Ares and I also ran through the doors a couple of times and while I enjoyed it, I kept worrying that the backswing of the doors would smack him in the head — they didn’t). There were film strips blowing across two storeys through a hole in the floor and both kids enjoyed the strong breeze from whatever fan there was. Intrigued, Raspberry touched the flapping film strips and accidentally pulled them loose, thereby halting the exhibit. Oops. We tried to slink away nonchalantly but I think they knew it was us. Anyway, it was such a good exhibition that I was loath to leave, but I wanted to check out the family space at the Manchester Art Gallery.

In retrospect, we probably could’ve stayed at the Cornerhouse a little longer, as the Clore Art Studio wasn’t overly inspiring as there were limited activities. Raspberry didn’t seem that interested in making art, or building a scene with blocks and two-dimensional paper shapes. She spent a little while building towers with their soft cubes, on which cityscapes were printed. Other than that, I don’t think any of us were too taken by the space.

Rather than heading to the train station to leave, I got the wild idea to walk over to Fred Aldous to do a birthday photobooth portrait for Ares, as his first birthday was the next day. Raspberry picked the colour photobooth and my attempt at having him sit on his own failed. Granted, he was tired and probably confused as to why I was putting him on a stool in an enclosed space on his own. In any case, I tried again with the black-and-white photobooth, with a modicum of success. Following this, Raspberry has decided she’d like photobooth portraits for her birthday too, so perhaps this is the start of a new birthday tradition for us.

So ended a relatively decent day in Manchester. There’s still lots I want to do soon (the Manchester Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, Whitworth Art Gallery, the Lowry, Salford Quays) that we’re probably going to have another day there soon. That said, we might be able to squeeze in another visit to the Playtime exhibition before it closes. I’m sure Raspberry would like that.


2 responses

  1. Happy belated birthday to Ares! Those photobooth photos are great. So are many more but I really like those ones.

    February 15, 2015 at 8:16 am

  2. Thanks, Sabina! I’m a total sucker for photobooth pictures. It’s a pity there aren’t more photobooths around anymore (or perhaps it’s a good thing, otherwise I’d be using them all the time!).

    February 16, 2015 at 10:30 am

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