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Recommended Reviews

  • 5.0 star rating
    5/8/2011

    The Whitworth Gallery plus the adjoining Whitworth Park (see Yelp) is a winning combination for any visitor to Manchester. In the Gallery building, Edwardian redbrick/marble interior contrasts with the light wood, glass and stainless steel of the Scandanavian-style redesign carried out in the 1960s - the building merits a visit in its own right. The gallery is beautifully spacious, with the staircases and balconies providing interesting movement and perspectives around the building - its all very soothing and refreshing and does something good to my head, even before I've set eyes on an exhibit!

    I admire how the Whitworth manages to be accessible and family-friendly without any sense of dumbing down or creating an inelegant play-school environment. Although not a parent myself, I can imagine educational entertainment being had with the factfiles, activity stations and highly authentic and ornate dressing-up costumes! See the 'Learning' section of their website for family fun events and more high-brow events.

    Textiles and decorative arts have been part of the Whitworth's programme since its inception which had a connection with Manchester's booming textile industry of that time. There are always exotic fabrics and clothes with a story on display from the collection, with the display cases being refreshed regularly.

    The visiting exhibitions I've always found worth the time. And as everything is free, and it is a total pleasure to walk around this beautiful building, there really is nothing to lose from a visit. Showing  at the moment are a mixture of a trompe-l'œil wallpapers and contemporary art installations. See what catches your interest. The gallery attendants are very friendly and pro-active - if you don't introduce yourself, they will! I chanced on a video of 64 Guardsmen who each marches individually into the City of London at different entry points. They seek each other out until the whole battalion reforms, and then disperses - loved it!

    The huge amount of elbow room in the gallery contrasts with the very busy lunchtime service in the Gallery Café, where Manchester food phenomenon The Modern Caterer are doing their stuff. I've not eaten here recently, but the cakes, plates and open kitchen look really good and one wall features a chalkboard chart of which fruit and veg are in season, month by month. I think you will understand what a good sign this is for fresh, local, seasonal produce being used - I saw a fantastic pan of pasta and wilted spinach being finished in the open kitchen when I looked in! But if it's more a basic tea and scone or breakfast item you're after, they have that also.

    So top marks all round for Whitworth Gallery. Once you're finished with the gallery, the park beckons with its mix of formal gardens, wild woods and play areas, benches and picnic tables.

  • 4.0 star rating
    25/1/2010

    Lucian Freud
    Francis Bacon
    L.S. Lowry
    J.M.W. Turner
    Henry Moore
    Vincent Van Gogh
    Pablo Picasso
    Barbara Hepworth
    Rachel Whitread
    David Hockney
    Richard Hamilton
    Peter Blake

    Originally opened in 1889, the Whitworth Art Gallery has emerged into one of the most important galleries in the North West with a collection of over 50,000 pieces of historic, modern and contemporary art. Spread over two floors and several rooms, they usually have a small selection of work from their collection exhibited alongside visiting exhibitions.

    Fans of textile designers like William Morris and Thomas Wardle should check out some of the gallery's rugs, silks and wallpapers whilst fine art lovers should be bowled over by the watercolours, drawings and sculptures on display. Personally, I'm more drawn to the gallery's contemporary art and am thrilled that they're currently showing Lynn Hershman Leeson's The Complete Roberta Breitmore til Summer 2010.

    If you're not familiar with Leeson, she's an American artist that spent four years in the 1970s 'performing' and documenting 'a persona' she called Roberta. The photos, videos and sound recordings she collected make fascinating viewing and should provoke healthy debates about gender, sexuality, identity, 'the self' and surveillance culture.

  • 5.0 star rating
    23/4/2011
    3 check-ins here

    Look at me! I'm a proper art fart this week. Yes, I did find myself seeking a bit of culture in our fair city a while back, and would you Adam and Eve it, there's tons on offer for us. Whitworth Art Gallery is Manchester University's artsy offering, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. Plus it's on my long route home. At a glance you can see that the exhibitions fringe on the unusual - from 'Walls are Talking (Wallpaper, Art and Culture)' to 'Deep Rooted (How Trees Shape Our Lives)', you can tell that you're in an academic, analytical, culturally aware university environment.

    Manchester is perhaps the city's most prestigious university (certainly in the media anyhoo) and the art gallery, just like the museum, follows suit. There's tons to explore; the collections include sculpture, prints, historic fine art, wallpaper, textiles and that ever increasingly important modern art. And like the museum this gallery focuses strongly on community learning, with fun for families and research and projects for kids of all ages.

    The gift shop is worth a visit alone with its art and design books, quirky gifts such as tea towels emblazoned with famous prints and toys as well as artistic wallpaper and wrapping paper, and a great range of greetings cards. Entry's free so you've nothing to lose (unless you hit this little retail outlet, obviously).

    And last time I went in it was only to use the bathroom, and I was massively intrigued by the lovely little café. Next on my list. Plus I wound up staying far longer than I intended to - now that's the mark of a good gallery!

  • 4.0 star rating
    5/12/2009

    This place is a must-see for all people either living in or visiting Manchester, I tend to always make time to catch the exhibitions that change quite regularly. The textile exhibits ranging from the 3rd century AD until the present day are beautiful, you can also see a great collection of fine art. prints, sculptures and modern art!... at the moment they are exhibiting an American modern art collection including Hooper and Pollock!

    There's a cafe which serves some pretty tasty seasonal food and healthy snacks. The shop is good for picking up some lovely cards with example pictures from the huge wallpaper collection the gallery owns! and if you check the website there are usually workshops organised for families during the week and weekends. The toilets have baby changing facilities.

    IT IS FREE TOO!! (obviously not the food though!)

  • 4.0 star rating
    11/2/2010

    You can't go too wrong with free entry to something, unless that something is a massive pit of snakes, but luckily Whitworth Art Gallery contains no snakes, only art. And ever-changing, good art at that.

    It's an easy way to kill time, or feel cultured, or go for a visit with a friend/loved one/date. The possibilities are indeed endless. They keep it up-to-date so it's always worth paying a visit back again from time to time to see what's new, and to feel like you are actually a mature, cultured individual rather than the oik you are at heart.

    The cafe is nice but expensive, as is the way with many museums and art galleries, so I'd only recommend visiting if you want to try out the organic stuff they do which is quite nice.

  • 4.0 star rating
    5/12/2009

    This is why Yelp is so useful. I LOVE Whitworth Art Gallery, it's right across the road from where I went to college and I used to go here most days to escape...but I'd completely forgotten about it until I saw Alison's review!

    I'm not a huge fan if art really, I dislike most modern art but I am fascinated by older works, that is what is amazing about The Whitworth, you can go straight to the part that you like and just sit there.

    No pressure, no hustle and bustle, no one bugging you, it's just a perfect place to escape from everything.

    There's no pretension here, it's in the university area so the main visitors are students, it's not in the city centre so it's not that busy either.

    The best part is of course that it's free entry, you have no excuse to not check it out.

  • 4.0 star rating
    3/2/2010

    I spent two years living in student halls within a one minute walk of this gallery. Entry is free. Yet I still encountered numerous fellow hall residents who had never made the short trip to this gallery, and I don't really blame them. In those days the museum didn't look too inviting especially for people who don't know their Bacon from their sausage. However, now that they've put more gates in the peripheral fence and started to display large pieces of art work outdoors (including teepees in the summer) it looks rather more inviting. I'm looking forward to seeing quite how they will expand into the adjoining Whitworth Park.

    I'm not a huge art fan and probably wouldn't pay to get into this museum, but have always been able to find something to catch my attention in here. A particular favourite of mine was the William Morris exhibition, as he was one of the only artists who I remember from art lessons at school (I was better at designing wallpaper than sketching a basket of fruit).

    I used to go here for a break from revision during the dreaded exam time and it is certainly a peaceful place in which to escape from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Road. It is never busy and the staff don't hassle you. On one visit a friend and I decided to try on the kimonos and other foreign costumes which were hung in the middle of the main hall - a great hands on touch for kids (or small adults - I couldn't fasten them!). The four-year-old girl which we befriended in our regression was certainly having a great time!

    The shop has a good range of arty books and I've picked up some great greetings cards and postcards here too.

  • 5.0 star rating
    18/3/2010

    I prefer this Whitworth Art Gallery to the Manchester Art Gallery in the city centre because, pound for pound, there's been more here to get me excited than there has in the city.

    It took me nearly a year to actually visit this place having moved to the city.

    It was once a running joke between my girlfriend and I, no less, how we've never been.

    Even after having visited the first time we'd still, upon passing, say with a smile "we really must go there, one day."

    Ah, those early months, when we'd just plucked up enough courage to hold hands, and we'd stroll these hallways for what felt like hours - she liked the Turners, I liked Warhol. It was the start of something which still hasn't stopped.

    The temporary exhibits to which the place plays host from time to time are frequently of a very high calibre indeed. For instance, during 2009's International Festival, Marina Abramovi took over the whole gallery with a "daring" three hour long performance piece. To my eternal regret I didn't go - we'd walk past and hear the most curious and deafening of sounds emanating, and my friend who did go reported much falling down the stairs...

    ...oh to live this life again.

  • 5.0 star rating
    24/4/2010

    The Whitworth Art Gallery, although somewhat smaller than the Manchester Art Gallery, is of equal importance in the growing cultural arena that is Manchester. The venue is further out of the city centre than the main Gallery, so visitors to the city often overlook it, as it is a fair whack off the tourist trail.

    The Gallery, as with many similar venues, is housed in a beautiful building, and surrounded by green parklands. As with the Manchester Art Gallery, the Whitworth Art Gallery is constantly reinventing itself in order to attract new visitors.

    My first visit to the Gallery was to attend an organised event to attract and welcome in completely new audiences to the space and the exhibits. When we arrived there was free wine and drinks, food, stand up comedy, live music and interactive 'make-your-own-art' tables, for those wishing to flex their creative muscles. I made a key ring, and a sample of wallpaper. Both were dreadful, but I enjoyed myself!

    It is events like this that make me so fond of places in the city like the Whitworth Art Gallery. In Manchester you are free to approach the arts without the somewhat class-oriented order, which can be seen in other cities in the UK. I hope that more and more people being to recognise that there are opportunities like this night at the Whitworth Art Gallery, so that they can seize them, and become more involved in the arts. I look forward to my next visit hugely.

  • 4.0 star rating
    25/4/2010

    The Whitworth Art Gallery is an impressive red brick Victorian building set in the scenic location of Oxford Road's Whitworth Park. It's free to enter and therefore well worth popping in to take a look around. I love the way they've attempted to create a sort of architectural harmony with the park and in one of the larger ground floor galleries almost an entire wall is made of glass, and the walls papered in a dense ivy print, so that you almost feel as though you are outdoors.

    I recently had a friend come to stay who needed to visit the Whitworth gallery to visit the exhibition 'The Walls are Talking' for her dissertation, (she's a textiles student), and I visited it for a second time with my creative writing poetry class to inspire an ekphrastic poem. This particular exhibition was really extensive  and thought-provoking. It featured wall paper as social commentary and consisted of everything from Action Man and Barbie wall paper to ones covered in illustrations of genitals. Modern art, eh! There's a great café too which is run by the same team behind Gabriel's Kitchen on Upper Brook Street.

    • Qype User 2purpl…
    • London
    • 78 friends
    • 58 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    16/10/2008

    Like the Manchester Museum, this too is part of the University of Manchester adn has been known to host some brilliant art exhibitions over the years. It is set within Whitworth Park, a beautiful place for a picnic in summer, and is great for academic art work as well as viewing for leisure.

    They have an exquisite section on textiles and fashion and this is reflected in the shop at the end of the galleries.

    • Qype User Jenny_…
    • Manchester
    • 18 friends
    • 70 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    26/2/2010

    The Whitworth is a great place to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon, followed by a cup of Fair Trade tea and a slice of cake in their café.

    In addition to their programme of changing exhibitions, the gallery houses a collection of fine art, prints, modern art, textiles and wallpaper. What I like best about it is that alongside more traditional pieces are modern works by contemporary artists and makers. And it's not just all about art. Take a look at their textile collection, for which they are renowned.

    The gallery shop is also worth a visit with a good selection of books and art and design magazines.

    At present (Feb 2010) there's an exhibition called 'Walls Are Talking: Wallpaper, Art and Culture', which includes work by Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst. Well worth a visit.

    • Qype User mofgim…
    • Manchester
    • 60 friends
    • 248 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    5/5/2010

    The Whitworth Art Gallery is, to my mind, one of the more overlooked galleries in Manchester thanks to it being away from the city centre.

    Unfairly too.

    The Whitworth sits besides a nice park (should you have nice weather) and should the rain not hold off, you should head to the great little cafe that's inside the building.

    There's more than enough exhibitions and attractions to get your teeth into.

    The big guns have adorned the walls here like Picasso and Van Gough and they're all available to view for free.

    What makes this place a little gem is the showcasing of lesser known artists. It's well worth a trip down Oxford Road to have a browse and spend loads of money in the ace souvenir shop.

    When you're done there, the Whitworth pub is a quick stroll away.

    • Qype User Mr_Sif…
    • Sheffield, South Yorkshire
    • 7 friends
    • 127 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    17/11/2008

    I haven't visited the art gallery as such. But i did come here for a Goldman Sachs career talk.

    I was very impressed with the facilities though, and from what i could see the gallery looked very clean and modern. The food that was served was also really nice, and the staff working there were also very friendly too!

    • Qype User elvin1…
    • Manchester
    • 17 friends
    • 43 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    3/8/2010

    The Whitworth is the place I go to contemplate. I have always found this gallery relaxing, tranquil and for some strange unexplainable reason comforting. I have regularly visited this gallery for 30 years and it never disappoints.

    It is Home to some of the UK's finest collections of art and design including modern and historic fine art, prints, textiles and a rare collection of wallpapers. The gallery is bright,light and airy. It has unusual, memorable temporary exhibitions and a good permanent collection.

    The cafe sells fair trade tea and the cakes are scrumptious. The bookshop is also good. It is without a doubt worth a visit.

    • Qype User lisago…
    • Manchester
    • 14 friends
    • 149 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    2/11/2007

    Whitworth Art Gallery
    Oxford Road

    Whitworth Art Gallery is not as popular as Urbis or Manchester Art Gallery but is just as good, probably better as the art they show is often at the cutting edge of modern art and is well worth a look. As well as having a permanent exhibition they also in the past have had displayed works by world renowned artists such as Gilbert and George. They also host shows by new and emerging artists, which is often modern, including video installations and sculptures. If you are a fan of modern art that really makes you think, the Whitworth Art Gallery is a must. Very highly recommended

    • Qype User Daisy-…
    • Manchester
    • 0 friends
    • 1 review
    4.0 star rating
    12/12/2011

    Tony Oursler: The Influence Machine
    Screened in July 2011 as part of
    Projections: Works from The Artangel Collection was great.

  • 3.0 star rating
    12/1/2010

    The Whitworth has undergone a transformation in recent years, moving away from the fusty image associated with it when I was a first-year student, and moving more towards offering a cutting-edge modern art experience whilst remaining accessible and relevant to the people of Manchester.

    Personally, I don't know much about art. My boyfriend thinks I'm an art whizz because I always get the art questions right on University Challenge and I can tell my Hirst from my elbow, but really I only know what I like to look at, and have absolutely zero knowledge of art history or theory. The Whitworth doesn't care about this. Where some galleries seem to judge you, the Whitworth just sort of wraps you up in a blanket of hushed enthusiasm and lets you look at nice art. Well, it's not always 'nice'; the exhibition of Lynn Hershman Leeson's Roberta Breitmore series, an often disturbing investigation into a persona created and acted out by the artist over several years. This is an exhibition that deals with mental illness and the transitional nature of humanity, and will definitely make you think. In terms of the other art, the Whitworth has a tendency to put too much emphasis on wallpapers and textiles, which I'm sure are important, and form a large part of their collections, but which leave me cold. The Whitworth also displays a lot of watercolours of landscapes etc, which again are probably really good and important and stuff, but they just strike me as dull. Unlike Sarah-Anne, I really can't be bothered with old art. It's so same-old same-old to me.

    The café at the Whitworth gets a lot of press locally, and rightly so. It offers in-season organic food, cooked well and served nicely. One gripe I would have, is that it's not as cheap as I'd like for a lunchtime or snack venue, and that occasionally the portions can seem slightly paltry. Being a North East gal at heart, I have an insatiable thirst for gravy, and have always found the Whitworth café's gravy-based dishes (cassoulets, bangers'n'mash etc) to be lush. If I could offer one tip, I'd warn you off the turkey sandwich; it's dry and just not worth the money, or the effort you put into chewing the crusty bread. If you're ever in the area for brekkie and you're feeling flush, try their boiled egg and toast soldiers; totally lush.

    Recently the Whitworth has emerged as one of Manchester's best events venues. From weddings to conferences, the gallery's imposing spaces make a great setting that looks a little different. Having attended a wedding reception at the Whitworth last month, I can say that everything was absolutely perfect, and the bride and groom were so chuffed with how it all turned out. As far as I know, hire of the gallery for the reception was pretty competitive, and they said that the event was tailored exactly to their needs, which is exactly what you want when you're having a party. By all accounts, the events coordinator worked with them to make their day extra special and it really showed; we all had a great time. One thing I love about this place is the private view parties; easily the best in Manchester. The atmosphere is always buzzing and the booze just flows and flows. These events go without a hitch and it's always nice to sip bubbly at an arty party and pretend you're part of the arty set (in reality, the Whitworth's private views are pretty much open to everyone).

    Local residents with kiddywinks might be interested in the extensive programme of family-friendly activities and events. Being reluctant to procreate, I know nothing about them, but I'm sure a quick look at one of their leaflets or the website will tell you all you need to know about getting the kids their culture fix.

    In terms of art on show, sometimes the Whitworth can be a bit dull, but recent shows such as Marina Abramovic Presents... (a three-hour performance art extravaganza by 12 world-renowned performance artists) and The American Scene are really putting the Whitworth on the map as somewhere to see cool art. And when everything is free entry, you might as well pop in and see if anything catches your eye.

  • 4.0 star rating
    21/10/2009

    Whitworth is another free art gallery that's well worth the visit, especially if you're interested in textiles and wallpapers, which as a crafter and interiors fanatic, I find fascinating. There's also a great collection of watercolours (if that's your thing), modern prints and drawings. The Indian silk sari's and Roberta Breitmore exhibitions are on until 2010 and wonderful. The building itself, an annexe of the University of Manchester, is Edwardian in style and in my opinion just as pretty as the art itself. There's also a large selection of art and design books in the shop as well as great gift ideas.

  • 4.0 star rating
    12/1/2010

    Searching for inner peace? You could try yoga? Travel to a remote corner of the world and meditate by a waterfall? Something cheaper? Go here. You make thing you have accidentally been flung into purgatory but don't worry, you're in whitworth art gallery. The place is big, white and echoes; because of this I think everyone is very quiet so as not to disturb the buildings sense of tranquillity. Sit down on one of the cosy chairs and let yourself become part of the furniture, before you know it you'll be at one with existence.
    Fancy looking at the actual art? It's well spread and there's a lot going on when you slow down with the pace of the environment. The place is always hosting something interesting, some big names of art tap into this serene theatre most recently Maria Abramovich. The gallery always has a stand featuring work from local artists and exhibiting Manchester's rich industrial past.

  • 5.0 star rating
    29/12/2007
    First to Review

    Whitworth Art Gallery is a great way to kill a few hours if you're near the University of Manchester. They also have a small cafe and a gift shop.

    • Qype User shiver…
    • Manchester
    • 7 friends
    • 92 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    22/2/2009

    Great Gallery - Free too lots of space, the cafe is excellent, staff were a bit stretched but really great seasonal food. GO!

    • Qype User KevCam…
    • Manchester
    • 2 friends
    • 361 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    9/6/2012

    Along with its counterpart further up Oxford Road in the Manchester Museum, this Art Gallery is also part of the University of Manchester.
    It offers a wide variety of sculptures/artwork in its large facility for those wanting to see work from Picasso, Manet, Rembrandt and other famous artists. Many specially themed artwork events are held here and with it being right next door to the beautiful Whitworth Park, where you can enjoy a lie-down in the vast greenery spaces, its definitely worth a visit.

    • Qype User katie2…
    • Perth
    • 21 friends
    • 143 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    17/11/2008 Updated review

    This is on oxford road and is free to visit.It has load of space but still only shows a small percentage of a collection at a time since it is so big.Toliets have baby chnaging facilities and there is a shop and a food and drink area.

    4.0 star rating
    17/11/2008 Previous review
    The gallery is owned by the university of Manchester and i visited here when i was visiting the… Read more
    • Qype User cheese…
    • Manchester
    • 1 friend
    • 62 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    19/11/2008

    This place is brilliant. I lived in Manchester for a good couple of years before I took the time to wander in. The exhibitions were great and change regularly so there's always something new to see. The textile exhibits were very interesting. There's a cafe and a shop. When I visited they were doing a workshop with local schoolchildren who were having a great time and I think they offer activities for children on weekends too.

    • Qype User nomis…
    • Birmingham, West Midlands
    • 2 friends
    • 108 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    17/12/2007

    Located in the Rusholme area of Manchester, Whitworth art gallery boosts a very good collection of several works. Its a very convenient place to visit on your lunch break especially if you're a student around the universities. At the moment there is a huge sculpture made of several dozen pans exhibited outside the gallery. If you're in manchester for a few days visit, this is a place for your list to visit.

    • Qype User ColinC…
    • Manchester
    • 2 friends
    • 64 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    19/11/2008

    Good, good stuff. An excellent, indeed world-standard collection of textile and surface pattern design.

    • Qype User funkyr…
    • Stoke-on-Trent
    • 2 friends
    • 8 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    20/2/2009

    THis is a great gallery and free too. Well worth the walk from Picadilly station. They have chaning exhibitions , the current surrealism exhibit is well worth a visit.

    • Qype User Janner…
    • Plymouth
    • 0 friends
    • 133 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    25/10/2010

    Excellent small art gallery. Little known and part of the university but its free and the eclectic collection first rate in quality and breadth.

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