Major Visual Arts Programme Revealed For Liverpool 08

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 27 September 2007
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Shows a photograph of the waterfront in Liverpool. Across a small stretch of the River Mersey are the three graces, three imposing stone buildings.

Liverpool is building itself up for City of Culture 2008 with culture and heritage at the forefront. Courtesy National Museums Liverpool.

The City of Liverpool today unveiled a spectacular programme of events for its year as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

As well as homecoming concerts for former Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr who will be performing in June 2008 at Anfield Stadium and the new Liverpool Echo Arena respectively, the programme boasts a healthy mix of music, performing arts, architectural celebrations, community events and visual arts.

The latter is well represented with the fifth Liverpool Biennial taking centre stage between September 20 and November 20 2008. Bigger than previous years, new commissions of ambitious and challenging new artworks are promised by leading international artists for gallery and public spaces

In 2008 Tate Liverpool will bring a range of world-class art to the city, displaying masterpieces from the Tate Collection alongside modern classics by Gustav Klimt and Niki de Saint Phalle, and ending the year with the finest new commissions.

The 2007 Turner Prize will also be taking the gallery into 2008 on a high, whilst the autumn sees the focus shift to new work with the fifth Liverpool Biennial. In addition to this, Tate Liverpool celebrates its 20th anniversary in May, with a weekend of wide-ranging events for all ages.

shows the outside of FACT, a modern building with a large notice on the outside saying 'this is fact'

At FACT they are devoting their 2008 programme to one concept: Human Futures. © Richard Moss / 24 Hour Museum

Amongst a raft of special commissions in various media at sites across the city, One Step Forward One Step Back, by Dreamthinkspeak, will see a site specific work created for Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral based on Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Following its £12.5 million re-fit, the Bluecoat, Liverpool city centre’s oldest building and one of the UK’s oldest art spaces, will become a base for the UK’s most talented emerging artists when it re-opens in 2008.

The refurbished and extended space is being lined up as a hub for the legacy of Liverpool 08 by building on the tradition of supporting and showcasing the very best creative talent as it emerges, and providing studio space for young artists within a unique creative community.

At FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) they are devoting their 2008 programme to one concept: Human Futures.

Internationally renowned artists, including Orlan, Al and Al, Zbigniew Oksiuta and Pipilotti Rist, will exhibit new commissions and existing work alongside events, workshops, discussions and debates designed to challenge our idea of the world around us and encourage us to develop a vision of the world we want to live in.

a photograph of a long corridor with a green floor

The A Foundation will host Runcorn-born artist Phil Collins, who will make a new film piece made in collaboration with the people of Liverpool. © Richard Moss / 24 Hour Museum

National Museums Liverpool (NML) presents two blockbuster exhibitions with From the Cavern to Creamfields, Billy Fury to the Zutons, The Beat Goes On (running from July 12 2008 – November 1 2009) providing a journey through 40 years of Liverpool music.

Art in the Age of Steam (running between April 18 and August 10) will explore the fear and excitement of early train travel as it captures the artist’s response to the advent of steam locomotion, featuring artists such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Edward Hopper.

NML has also announced a special commission in the form of Ben Johnson's Liverpool Cityscape (May 24 – November 2). Two years in the making, it is a painstakingly detailed piece of photo realistic art, showing Liverpool’s famous skyline from a vantage point high above the River Mersey, looking towards the Three Graces.

At the recently refurbished Greenland Street site, A Foundation has commissioned a new work by Runcorn-born artist Phil Collins, who will make a new film piece made in collaboration with the people of Liverpool.

a cityscape wih large cranes in the foreground

Liverpool has been furiously rebuilding for three years - now it is all coming together. © Richard Moss / 24 Hour Museum

The visual arts get a final push with Portrait of a Nation - a campaign being run in 2007 and 2008 by the Liverpool Culture Company, 17 member cities of the Urban Cultural Network and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It sees young people using a diverse range of mediums to explore their heritage and local identity and define how the past is central to a vibrant present and optimistic future.

A series of events in the 17 cities will showcase the young peoples' arts and heritage projects, revealing what is special to them about where they come from, their local cultures, communities and identities. Their work will culminate in a spectacular festival at the end of 2008 to close Liverpool’s Capital of Culture celebrations.

Each city will be adopted by a Liverpool neighbourhood, as communities celebrate their own cultural identity alongside that of their hosts.

The current programme for 2008 is available to download at

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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