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HomeNewsThe NW Visual Arts Open 2012: CRITICAL MASS

The NW Visual Arts Open 2012: CRITICAL MASS

CRITICAL MASS: three places, three weekends, March – AprilImage-Oliver Braid

Artists, galleries and studio groups based in Liverpool, Manchester and Cumbria/Lancashire present three clustered programmes of open studios, talks, discussions, exhibitions, workshops and salons. The leading galleries, studios, artists and curators of Liverpool, Manchester, Cumbria and Manchester are commissioning exhibitions, events, talks, workshops and studio visits to open access to local and international artists and their work.

Most of the events are especially commissioned for this series, providing a special emphasis for exhibitions or a one off event.




Liverpool Visual Art Open programme includes:




2-5pm at FACT (The Box)

Cracking the Curatorial


What is the role of an arts institution in facilitating community connections and generating frameworks for public meaning making through art and media? FACT hosts the seminar, Cracking the Curatorial to launch Open CuRate It (, a three month programme of events and an online participation space designed to experiment with new models of curation and institutional engagement though emerging forms of media.


3 pm at Tate Liverpool

Curator Tour of Charline von Heyl: Now or Else


Join Gavin Delahunty, Head of Exhibitions at Tate Liverpool for a free tour of Charline von Heyl: Now or Else.  


Distinctive, imaginative and always surprising, Charline von Heyl’s work offers a fresh and exciting approach to the world of abstract art. Von Heyl is at the forefront of a new generation of abstract painters who have rejected late modernism’s emphasis on a singular signature style.  Charline von Heyl at Tate Liverpool will be the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK. Featuring forty two of her large canvasses and a number of unique works on paper.


Visitors are required to purchase an exhibition ticket, £7.20 (£5.40 concs.)


6-8 pm at the Bluecoat

Topophobia Private View

Fear of place is the focus of this exhibition. Ten artists – Anne Eggebert, Matze Einhoff, David Ferrando Giraut, Polly Gould, Marja Helander, Uta Kogelsberger, Abigail Reynolds, Almut Rink, Emily Speed and Louise K Wilson – respond to this intriguing subject through drawing, video, painting, photography sculpture, sound and installation.



7-9 pm at Arena Gallery

Acetate Steps

A Collaborative Installation by Arena artists, Niamh Crimson and Carol Ramsay with sound by Iain Yell.

Digital technology has replaced the cassette tape but can we ever forget the pleasure taken in ‘taping’ the Top 40 from the Radio on a Sunday night or making a mix tape of favourite songs for the one you loved. This installation is a celebration and a reinvention of the Joy of Tape.


9pm-Midnight Aftershow Party at Elevator Café & Bar 

Featuring exclusive DJ set from Nick Power (The Coral)





11am – 5pm at the Bluecoat

the Bluecoat Open Studios

As part of this opportunity across the city to find out about contemporary artists’ practice, some of the Bluecoat’s creative community artists open their studios to the public.

Free, just turn up.


2-3pm at The Royal Standard

Artist Talk by Oliver Braid

Last year artist Oliver Braid embarked on a mission to develop relationships with the five most attractive young male undergraduates from Glasgow School of Art, in the hope of better understanding his interactions with other men. The documentation and interpretation of these encounters form the basis for his new work ‘My Five New Friends’. Saturday 3 March will be the final day ‘My Five New Friends’ can be seen at The Royal Standard. To mark this occasion Braid will give a Talk about the exhibition in collaboration with Stephen O’Toole, one of the writers who guest edited the online version of My Five New Friends and an Art-psychotherapist. Free, just turn up.


4-6pm at the Bluecoat

Reactor micro-projects (part of The Royal Standard Dialogues programme)


Reactor is an art collective that creates projects in which audiences become active participants. Reactor leaves no room for the passive observer, creating work in which, rather than being forced, active engagement becomes the norm. Group dynamics and social interaction come to the fore, as participants immerse themselves in an unknown that invites risk-taking and a heightened sense of reality. A day-long workshop will take place at the Bluecoat, where Reactor will work with participants to develop a series of micro-projects, which the public are invited to inhabit and experience.


Dialogues is a year long programme led by The Royal Standard Dialogues has been designed to allow its audience as much input as possible, letting them shape the programme’s direction to their needs.



7pm-12am at Wolstenholme Creative Space

Fixation Closing Party


Wolstenholme Creative Space opens its doors for one last chance to see current exhibition ‘Fixation’, curated by Joe McNulty. Focusing on the nature of obsession, Fixation presents work from a variety of sources in an exhibition that is diverse but cohesive in theme and media; producing a focal point for dialogue and reflection. Come and join us for an evening of drinks and interesting sound performances!