Opposite the Municipal Buildings is this large banner made by artist David Jacques. It’s part of 2011’s being City of Radicals, marking both the centenary of the general transport strike in the city and the death as a pauper of Robert Tressell who wrote The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. David is also exibiting an installation at the Walker Art Gallery which we’ll turn to in a moment.
If you look at the apparently random tiles of type and symbols below you’ll make out the phrase, “the great money trick’. This is taken from Tressell’s novel. We discussed it in November last year and put up a post which includes an extract fully explaining the great money trick which you can read here
At the Walker Art Gallery accompanying the exhibition a short text tells of the discovery by the caretaker on the fourteenth floor of Irlam House, a tower block, of a stash of banners and designs left by the mythological art collective which has abandoned the dwelling. Jacques has long been fascinated with trade union banners, and the imagined banners here are set in contrast with the commercialised production of slogans, mottoes, banners by nineteenth century entrepeneur George Tutil whose work was commissioned not only by trade unions but by the likes of the Orange Lodge and temperance movements. The caretaker (now embarked on an hilariously titled PhD) negotiates with a curator leading, one assumes, to their eventual exhibition, classification and so forth in an art gallery. The last line of the text has the caretaker saying that he personally thinks his find would be best left in the street.
There’s a great review of the exhibition by our very own Denis who’s now writing for Manchester Salon which you can read here.