With its parkside setting and huge collection of more than 55,000 works, the 125-year-old Whitworth Art Gallery has long been one of Manchester’s most attractive museums. Due to reopen early in 2015 after a year of refurbishment, the gallery has added two new wings to show off its wonderfully eclectic collection of contemporary and historical pieces.
Already among its fine art are watercolours by Turner, Pre-Raphaelite paintings, and sculptures by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The gallery also houses the country’s second-largest collection of textiles and a selection of wallpaper spanning 400 years.
Now with double the public space, the new Whitworth is announcing itself with a bang, with 10 temporary exhibitions held simultaneously. There’s something of an explosive theme running through a couple of the displays. The headline exhibition of artist Cornelia Parker includes her most famous piece – Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View, showing the blasted contents of a garden shed suspended in mid-air.
Meanwhile, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang has made landscape prints emulating the classics of his homeland, and using that traditional Chinese invention – gunpowder.
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All exhibitions at the gallery, open in February, are free to visit.
Manchester Piccadilly station has services to Bristol, Glasgow and London Euston .
Great John Street Hotel is set in a former schoolhouse in central Manchester. Beyond the Art Deco lobby are fabulous bedrooms full of luxuries such as Egyptian cotton sheets and free-standing baths.