The New Whitworth Gallery, Manchester

Exciting changes have happened to the Whitworth Art Gallery.

By Mikki Gleave. Feburary, 2oth, 2015



The Whitworth Art Gallery is one of the most outstanding galleries of the North and after a £15 million development, can only be described as stunning. The most spectacular changes have occurred at the back of the gallery, where the extension leads into Whitworth Park. There is a sense of freedom and being connected to nature within the space. This is reinforced by views of the park and garden and whilst taking a break in the ‘café in the trees’ to reflect on one’s visual experience. Rooms, previously out of use to the public have been re-opened and available for workshops, special events and weddings.

Opening in 1899, The Whitworth has always been recognised as a gallery in a park, a place to retreat to and escape the hustle and bustle of life. The Whitworth founders were inspired from some of the best galleries in Europe, and in 1908, had already displayed two of the world’s magnificent treasuries: drawings, British Watercolours and world textiles. The structural patterns in the glass landscape gallery mimic the weave of fabrics in the Whitworth’s collection.

The gallery boasts contemporary art works by international artists, (including Sarah Lucas and Cai Guo-Qiang), through to work by David Hockney, Francis-Bacon and Richard Hamilton. English sculptor and installation artist, Cornelia Parker presents sculptural pieces in the centre of the building. Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View (1991) prompts thought on the fragility of human experience as one comes face to face with fragmented objects,(blown up by the British army at the request of the artist), suspended from a ceiling. The magnificent installation, Unmanned Nature (2008) by Cai Guo-Qiang displays huge scale drawings which at first glance one may consider the work is executed in ink when it is actually made with gun- powder.

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