Established in 2022, A Modest Show was devised a year long programme of artist-led activity as part of British Art Show9. Manchester responded with a parallel show, artists we asked to devise new work under satirical themes of food, hospitality, consumption and dining... we invited the city to; EAT MANCHESTER ARTISTS!
Our ongoing programme has the ambition to strengthen and develop the relationships between the visual arts ecology in the North-West & Midlands of England & Wales and local and international collectors. Working independently we will continue to build on the work of other organisations, past and present, to develop an art market and share our networks with artists and arts organisations in this area.
This new programme includes a map, which along with our website are the beginnings of a new legacy for Manchester. A go-to resource for people to find Manchester’s artist-led venues, events and spaces all year round.
A Modest Show is an independent curatorial platform to develop and support the relationships between Artists, Curators, Arts Organisatons, Museums & Galleries, Academics & Writers and Collectors.
Alex Zawadzki (Producer, now co-director) and I were employed by Arts Council England and a steering committee from three of the large studio groups in Greater Manchester to curate the British Art Show 09 satellite programme. I listened to steering groups and devised a curatorial statement. The rationale for this was inspired by "A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick" a satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. By using this tradition of Roman satire, in suggesting that artists hailing from Manchester and the North West are suitable fayre for the consumption by the rich I was challenging some of the press commentary and local criticisms of a five yearly British survey show. I refer to conversations about the complexities of a London gallery distributing funding throughout the UK, the rumoured low fees for participating artists and the controversies surrounding the Hayward Gallery reduncies during the pandemic. And locally a critique speaks to the relevance of an 'British' show. "Is a national survey of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland an outmoded concept?" Added to this, there were no artists from Greater Manchester selected for this edition.
CURATORIAL STATEMENT (released 12th April 2022)
"Simple in its design, A Modest Show will present artists as fare, let us eat Manchester’s artists.
In the period running up to and beyond 2023 life imitated art, an incredulous time, a time of fake truths, lampooned leaders and a polarised media elite, no satire could justify such a time, or so it felt.
What can the artists give us?
What they always have... their flesh.
A menu instead of a map, a main course instead of an exhibition, and a seating plan as interpretation. A chopping block as studio visit, a kitchen as gallery and restaurants as museums; a feast of artists. Proclaiming artist sustenance, the best cuts and ‘Publick’ nourishment...
The ultimate in hospitality."
Nat Pitt · Division of Labour, Curator of A Modest Show
CURATORIAL STATEMENT for AMS British Art Show 9
TRAVEL & TRANSPORT
Visit Transport for Greater Manchester for public travel tips on buses and Manchester’s famous trams.
A Modest Show is based in Unit 30, Paradise Works, meetings by appointment. For detailed information on any of the Greater Manchester venues listed on our MAP and details like accessibility, please contact the venue directly prior to your visit so they can assist and arrange to support you accessing the building.
WHERE TO STAY
The Alan (our partner Hotel sponsor)
A design led, creatively charged, unique 6-storey hotel in the centre of Manchester. The Alan is ultra-modern by design and relaxed in character. With an open-plan kitchen, bar, and restaurant serving incredible seasonal small plates showcasing British sourced ingredients, and drinks sourced from local breweries and distilleries. The hotel lobby has a focus on creating serene co-working spaces for guests and visitors.
Located in the centre of Manchester, The Alan is in walking distance of both Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations and long stay car parks. You can find Manchester Art Gallery one street away, making this the ideal location to visit.
A MODEST SHOW IN SUPPORT OF MANCHESTER ARTISTS
Alongside its public facing programme, A Modest Show is creating opportunities to support artists in their endeavours and professional development.
We create connections between artists; and collectors, curators and institutions through hospitality events and tours and the showcase of A Modest Show at national and international art fairs. Our aims is to build potential for sales, representation and national exhibition opportunities for Manchester artists.
A Modest Show will create a legacy from its programme, by developing its assets into ongoing resources for visitors to find and visit Manchester’s artist-led spaces.
A Modest Show was initiated and led led by the advice and direction of Manchester artists and arts organisations. We delivered an artist-led programme that highlighted Manchester’s creative brilliance, we could not have delivered this without their support. The inaugural BAS9 programme was funded by Arts Council England and GMCA Greater Manchester Combined Authority and was only made possible with their backing. We must also thank our generous venue hosts, volunteer invigilators and partners across educational institutions, businesses and institutions.