Artist-focused art fair The Manchester Contemporary returns this weekend, 11-13 October 2019, with thirty exhibiting galleries and collectives taking part, including several from outside of the UK.

Curated by Division of Labour Director Nat Pitt, the exhibitor list features a strong female-led line-up with more than half of the galleries and collectives led by women.

These include l’étrangère under Director Joanna Gemes, which presents intricate tapestries by USSR-born artist Yelena Popova, and TJ Boulting, headed up by Director Hannah Watson, showing new works by acclaimed photographer Juno Calypso.

Narrative Projects, which is run by Daria Kirsanova, is presenting an archive of photographs by influential philosopher Derek Parfit. While Espacio Liquido from Madrid, which is run by gallerist Nuria Fernandez, is presenting contemporary Spanish artist Teresa Moro whose work is concerned with the ‘relic effect’ of objects owned by famous artists.

Speaking about the gallery selection, Pitt said: “In the main section of The Manchester Contemporary, we are proud to support a fifty-fifty split of female to male-owned galleries for the first time. There’s nothing unusual about this number on its own – except that these are outstanding and really strong gallerists. Fifty percent is really as it should be.

“I’ve been working quite closely with the Government Art Collection, an organisation that has made it their policy to collect under represented female artists. Given that there’s a lot of emphasis on female artists within the art world, I was aware of the importance of looking at things from the point of view of female gallerists too.”

Other international spaces exhibiting at the fair include LMAKgallery from New York and Square Art Projects from London/Caracas.

This edition also has a particular emphasis on collectives. Among the five project spaces and collectives exhibiting are Yo! Collective from York, No Room to Breathe from Madrid, west midlands-based Salt Road, and Pink, a Manchester-based project from curators Katy Morrison and Matt Retallick.

Exhibitors in the main section of the fair include Manchester-based Castlefield Gallery presenting new work by Nicola Ellis, Parham Ghalamdar and George Gibson, artist-led initiative Paradise Works, showing sculptural works by studio member Richard Dean Hughes that collide contemporary artefacts with abstract representations of coping methods, and Newcastle-based gallery Vane which is exhibiting works by Ben Applegarth, Feliks Culpa, Kirsty Harris, Jonpaul Kirvan, Melanie Kyles, Carole McCourt and Narbi Price.

The Manchester Contemporary 2019, 11-13 October, Manchester Central Convention Complex, Windmill Street, Manchester M2 3GX. Tickets: £5 in advance, £6 on the door.

Also taking place this weekend around Manchester and Salford:

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair
Now in its 12th year, the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is the north of England’s largest and most established annual celebration of contemporary craft.

Taking place in a Victorian market building in the heart of Manchester on Deansgate, the event hosts over 150 designer-makers and craft artists including those working in jewellery, interior and fashion textiles, ceramics, glass, furniture and print.
Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, 10-13 October, Upper Campfield Market Hall, Barton Street, Manchester M3 4FN. Tickets: £6.50 in advance, £8 on the door.

Paradise Works Open Studios 2019
35 artists at Salford-based studio and project space Paradise Works open their studios to the public across the weekend. The open studios takes place alongside a series of events celebrating Paradise Works’ third year, including the launch of Paradise Works Multiples which features affordable contemporary art from studio artists and friends, and new exhibition ‘Millennialism’ which explores the experience of a woke generation through new works by ten up-and-coming visual artists.
Paradise Works, East Philip Street, Salford, Manchester M3 7LE. Open Studios: Saturday 12 October 12-10pm and Sunday 13 October 12-4pm; ‘Millennialism’: 12, 19, 26 October, 12-5pm.

Manchester School of Art’s Holden Gallery hosts a series of events, workshops and performances that intersect its regular programme. This weekend’s programme includes: ‘Claire Hope: Human but not practiced’ (10 October, 6-730pm); ‘Foreign Investment: HAPPY HOUR!’ (10 October, 6-730pm);  and ‘Talking Back – Call & Response’ (12 October, 12-4pm)
The Holden Gallery, Manchester School of Art, Grosvenor Building, Cavendish Street Manchester M15 6BR.

Head over to a-n’s Instagram where Artists Council member and Manchester Contemporary 2019 exhibitor George Gibson will be posting highlights from several of the artist-led and artist-focused events taking place around Manchester this weekend

1. The Manchester Contemporary.
2. Narbi Price, Untitled Allotments Painting (North Seaton), acrylic on board, 70x50cm, 2018.
3. Richard Hughes, Dweller, 2019.

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