From the impartial position of journo, CONC editor inspects A Modest Show’s menu.

Triple Decker at Paradise Works
25th May 6-10 pm
Exhibition 28th May – 2nd July Saturdays 12 – 4 pm

On 25th May at 6 pm Paradise Works will open the studios of selected artists and present Intersections in the studios’ new space, the Division of Labour Gallery.

At 7:30, The Emperors Nu Instagram will be served. This satirical performance by Richard Shields will dramatise artists’ work-life-social media juggling act. Have you got a seat at the table?
At 8 pm Paradise Works’ birthday party begins. It’s quite the dessert, including a commissioned performance by Shields, screenings of work by Paradise Works artists, the new studio unit launch, DJs, and (non metaphorical) street food and cake.

Intersections curated by Will Marshall is a group exhibition of art exploring identity. Marshall has curated at Paradise Works before and boasts a roster of thought-provoking shows, so you’re in for a treat. We are particularly keen to catch exhibited work by Deshna Shah, Chester Tenneson and Alistair Woods.

New Ways of Eating by New Func
1520 Studios
27th May 6:30 – 9 pm

Hugh Stant and Tam Dibley are New Func – the group explores new ways of being. In the time CONCRETE’s been following them they’ve tackled partying, reading, greeting and breathing. This Friday they will stir the pot further through exploration of the overwhelming disjuncture between meaning and taste with their participatory performance ‘Snooker Mowf’.

The group’s interests and aesthetics make them a pretty conceptual Modest Show offering, but the consumer doesn’t need more degrees than an oven to enjoy their work. Between the spidery mind maps and fluorescent illustrations littering the @newfunc instagram feed are many images of smiling participants drinking, breathing and reading.

CONCRETE has been watched New Func for a few months now and are keen to get stuck in. We don’t know quite what to expect, but we definitely want to go; that’s New Func having their cake and eating it, I suppose.

Fertile Grounds at Longsight Artspace
4th June 1:30 – 4 pm
5th June – 31st July, 12 – 6 pm.

The Longsight knees up is the long lunch you’ve been craving. This corker of a street party includes food, music, participatory workshops, live visual art and a procession to celebrate 50 years of Carnival in the city. Expression of creativity through costume is encouraged, although not mandatory.

The notion of the carnivalesque in the everyday will be explored through Fertile Grounds which opens the next day. Mikhail Bakhtin suggested the carnivalesque as a literary mode that subverts and liberates the assumptions of the dominant through humour and chaos. Curator Nikita Gill described the show as a ‘love letter to the descendants of the windrush and also the legacies of the emancipated’.

Expect to see work by Tina Ramos Ekongo (whose royal figures you may have seen hidden in plain sight around town), Tulani Hlalo and Garth Gatrix.

Soft Things at Seesaw
Wed to Fri 10 – 4 pm, Sat – Sun 11 – 4 pm, 6th – 18th June

Sarah Boulter was commissioned to create two twin ultra-short films which have been put to electronic music by Alice Merida Richards.

The films tackle the uncomfortable topic of gorging and its relation to escapism. It’s a particularly fitting response to A Modest Show’s food theme after the pandemic.

These semi-narrative films seek to unite us in silent recognition of the shared solace and physical pleasure we found in tv relationships and our fridges in spite of boredom and bodily fixations during the pandemic.

Owing to Boulter’s interest in collective memory and Soft Things‘ description, we expect to find an up-to-date and visual response to Neil Postman’s ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ which acknowledges the unglamorous and the ritualistic parts of overconsumption, as well as the emptiness that accompanies it.

Food of the Gods
Venue and time TBC

Newcomer TV Babies present a one off participatory performance simulating a fine dining experience. Some members of the audience will be invited to participate. No such thing as a free lunch mind – this feast of green jellies is a rumination on the disconnections between ‘food porn’, actually eating, and watching others eat, in person or on the telly.

Knowing little about TV Babies yet, we’re eager to experience this performance, especially as the group promises an unsettling green screen element. See you there.

As A Modest Show’s website sagely wagers, the ritual of consumption has been wholly fetishised through our screens. Much like Soft Things, Food of the Gods is contemplating the rituals of consumption and Covid’s impact on them. CONCRETE will be attending this performance because the opportunity to participate, reflect, further understand the online age’s greed gobbling of all commodities and the fetishistic throw-up it leads to (and to be grossed out) is just too good to miss.

Still Hungry?

Fayre Share Fayre at the Whitworth Gallery
19th May – 4th Sept

This group show is Modest Show HQ. It brings together 40 artists with a connection to Greater Manchester. CONCRETE is especially excited to see what Parham Ghalamdar, Claire Dorsett, Robin Broadley, Ryan Gander, and Benji Reid have to show us.

Breaking Bread at RAG Gallery
23rd – 25th June

Food’s place at the dinner table is laden with cultural attachments. The safety that eating together offers will always harbour a special place in the hearts of Mancunians and the diaspora that our city homes. On The Rag aims to celebrate the space food creates, allowing memory, change, nostalgia, and nourishment to exist at a crowded table.

Chewing the Fat podcast

A series of discussions unpacking diverse curatorial outlooks in the North-West in podcast form. In line with British Art Show 9’s curatorial narrative of exploring new ways of and interrogating resistance, James Mathews-Hiskett applies the same line of questioning to curaton. It’s supported by Castlefield Gallery, so check their platforms for details.

Clean plates all around. Enjoy the art.

We will try and avoid food puns when we review it.

Every image is property of the artist. Lead image: Fruit (2020) © Robin Megannity.