Whitworth

February in Arts

It’s the start of a new month, which means it’s time to look forward to all the exciting things that are happening in the arts world over the next four weeks. Here is The Hippo Collective’s guide to the things to do, see and visit in February that have really caught our eye.

Maggi Hambling, ‘Walls of Water’, ends 15th Febuary at the National Gallery, London.
The first two weeks of February offer a last chance to see this fantastic free exhibition at the National Gallery. The works on show are dramatic and emotive, and this is well worth seeing- Hambling is an artist who really involves her audience, having once said ‘The crucial thing that only painting can do is make you feel as if you’re there while it’s being created- as if it’s happening in front of you.’ This exhibition does exactly that: it’s turbulent, exciting, and inspiring.

Helena's Dream, Marlene Dumas Image: tate.org.uk

Helena’s Dream, Marlene Dumas
Image: tate.org.uk

Marlene Dumas, ‘The Image as Burden’, opens 5th February at the Tate Modern, London.
Marlene Dumas’ work is emotionally charged, intriguing, and extremely current. She’s a prominent artist of the moment, and this chance to see her work on display at the Tate Modern (open until May 10th) is not one to be missed. She never paints from life, but states that ‘secondhand images can generate first-hand emotions,’ and this is certainly true of her paintings: Dumas blends the political, the erotic, and the personal, portraying life right before your eyes.

Reopening: The Manchester Whitworth Art Gallery, 14th February.
Manchester’s Whitworth has undergone a huge redevelopment, massively enlarging the gallery’s space, meaning there is more room for fabulous exhibitions; and they are certainly making the most of it. Opening with exhibitions from the likes of Cornelia Parker, the acclaimed British contemporary artist, as well as Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s ‘Unmanned Nature,’ a 45 metre long gunpowder drawing in the museum’s new landscape gallery (see featured image, above). This suggests a very promising future for this freshly refurbished gallery.

Blackpool, 1968 (detail), Tony Ray-Jones. Image: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

Blackpool, 1968 (detail), Tony Ray-Jones.
Image: liverpoolmuseums.org.uk

‘Only in England’, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, opens 13th February.
This charmingly humorous, yet touching, photographic exhibition examines the work and legacy of the great British photographer Tony Ray-Jones. If you’re looking for something a bit different, this is the exhibition for you: Ray-Jones’ short career aimed to document ordinary English life, resulting in a collection of photographs that are close to home, at the same time as being intensely detailed.

A View from the Bridge, Wyndhams Theatre, London, opens 10th February.
Moving from the Young Vic to the Wyndhams Theatre, this portrayal of Arthur Miller’s intense story of immigration and the American Dream looks set to be hugely emotionally powerful and dramatic. It’s a tale of passion and confrontation within a family, and one of Miller’s masterpieces.

Al Murray’s UK Tour continues.
Having thrust himself into politics recently, Al Murray’s tour is likely to be more popular than ever. The Pub Landlord’s matter of fact style never fails to amuse, and I’m keen to see if his tour is really just more political campaigning: as his political website states, while most parties offer a moon on a stick, the pub landlord can offer us a ‘British moon on a British stick’. While I’m yet to be convinced that he’s got my vote, the run-up has got to be entertaining.

This is just a smattering of all the exciting things happening to the arts world in February this year. Overall, it looks set to be a very interesting spring.

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