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Bryan Biggs on art school band Deaf School

Our Artistic Director, Bryan Biggs curates an exhibition about art school band Deaf School at LJMU between Sat 19 October and Fri 15 November.

Here Bryan talks about his personal experiences of Deaf School and what you can expect to find in the exhibition.  

‘As a fellow art student, it was an extraordinary experience witnessing the birth of Deaf School and their improbable development from ramshackle, avant-garde art project to award-winning, musically tight, professional touring and recording pop group.  Entertainment was always at their heart and there was not a gig when I did not come away smiling.
‘I was delighted when the band’s manager Ken Testi invited me to curate an exhibition making 40 years since their first performance and as an accompaniment to Paul Du Noyer’s biography. Deaf School’s story is much more complex, interesting and colourful than the dominant music press verdict of a band out of step with, and made irrelevant by, punk’s urgency.  As anyone who saw the band at this time will tell you, their live performances were as thrilling as any ‘new wave’ outfit, and in terms of galvanizing a pretty moribund local scene in the mid 1970s, their influence on Merseyside’s musical resurgence at the end of the decade was immeasurable.
‘I am keen that something of the origins of Deaf School in an art school context is reflected in the exhibition, so I am gathering material from that period. Very little art work exists from the 1973-75 period, however I have managed to locate some original prints and publications relating to the art college, and will be presenting this alongside some paintings, wall hangings and drawings by band members.
‘There will be record sleeves, posters, photos and rarely seen films, including one of a very early band rehearsal at the art school. This focus on the genesis of the band rather than on the reunions (though there will be material relating to that too) will, I hope, remind visitors to the exhibition of the importance of art schools in shaping British pop music, and perhaps help to explain why Deaf School were so unique and remain such an important and much-loved part of Liverpool’s musical and cultural heritage.’ 

Deaf School: The Art School Dance Goes On Forever

Sat, 19 Oct 2013- Fri, 15 Nov 2013 

10.00 AM - 5.00 PM  Free

Location: Liverpool John Moores University School of Art & Design                                           

At Liverpool John Moores University School of Art & Design, Liverpool Art & Design Academy, Duckinfield Street, Off Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, L3 5YD

This exhibition celebrates 40 years since archetypal art school band, Deaf School, formed at Liverpool College of Art. Melody Maker rock/pop/folk contest winners and Warner Brothers recording artists, they became one of the most entertaining and visually distinctive outfits of the mid 1970s live circuit and an influence on Liverpool's musical rennaissance around legendary Eric's club.  Curated by the Bluecoat’s Artistic Director Bryan Biggs, the exhibition highlights the art/pop music crossover and the fertile art school environment from which Deaf School sprang. It will include original art works by band members including Tim Whittaker, Sam Davis and Roy Holt, posters, record sleeves, rarely seen films and photos.





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Bluecoat is Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, the oldest in the UK. Our landmark building, located in the ...

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October Half Term at Bluecoat

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