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Exhibition

What is Manchester Art Gallery? (And what does it mean to you?)

19 May 2021–26 Dec 2021

Overview

And what does it mean to you? In the first of our gallery spaces to be completely transformed since they were first hung in 2002, we are exploring the gallery itself. Manchester Art Gallery cares for a public collection of over 46,000 objects spanning six centuries of fine art, craft and design, costume and more. It has been collected by purchase, gift and bequest since 1827 up to the present day. It is part of Manchester City Council and funded through public and private money. The objects are collectively owned by the people of Manchester. Manchester Art Gallery has been shaped by people: the public, artists, politicians, curators, staff, collectors, benefactors and visitors. Every object acquires different values, status and meanings over time. Every object and person has stories to tell. The significance of a public collection is more than the accumulation of individual objects. Its core purpose is to encourage curiosity in everyone and inspire creativity in all aspects of life. Using the collection helps us better understand ourselves and others. The Gallery is part of the collective cultural soul of our city and it holds Manchester’s cultural wealth in trust for future generations. A group of staff from across the Gallery have delved into the archives to select objects that reflect its origins as the Royal Manchester Institution, its subsequent history and a range of art and design. We have mixed up works from different times, made in a variety of materials by artists and makers from Manchester and across the world. We have been asking ourselves the questions below about the gallery, we don’t know all the answers and we invite you to think about them too.


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