posted 03 May 2016
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Liverpool Biennial 2014: A Needle Walks Into a Haystack
- Sat, 05 Jul 2014 - Sun, 26 Oct 2014
- 10.00 AM - 6.00 PM
- Tickets: Free
Liverpool Biennial 2014: The UK Biennial of Contemporary Art
A Needle Walks Into a Haystack
Sat 5 July – Sun 26 October
A Needle Walks into a Haystack is the Biennial’s exhibition of international art that unfolds across Liverpool’s public spaces and galleries. Curated by Mai Abu ElDahab and Anthony Huberman, it disrupts the way we assume our habits, and experience our habitats.
The Bluecoat presents a single artist, American painter James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). Through paintings, prints, drawings, sound, ephemera and key correspondences, this exhibition, the first of its kind in the UK, will explore elements of Whistler’s practice and life that position him as the ‘original’ contemporary artist, in a reflection of how artists operate today.
A flamboyant public figure, controversially associated with the dandies of his time, he deliberately constructed the conditions with which to present and distribute his art. He not only paved the road for abstract painting and advocated ‘art for art’s sake’, but also assumed a public persona that challenged art communities, theories, critics and conventions.
As well as bold experiments in colour, subject and technique, Whistler took control of how his work was presented. He created special environments in which to display his art: from shades of paint on the walls and a patented 'Velarium' system to diffuse light in a room, to the yellow socks he asked exhibition attendants to wear. He actively engaged in debate around the value and role of art and artists, as exemplified in his 'Ten O'Clock Lecture' and numerous legal entanglements, and re-worked criticism to his own benefit, often publishing his worst reviews together with his own clever and scornful retorts.
Significantly, Whistler had many connections to Liverpool. Speke Hall was the residence of his patron, F.R. Leyland, and the exhibition includes a number of works that reference this special relationship.
The 8th Liverpool Biennial Exhibition, A Needle Walks into a Haystack, takes place across the city at public spaces and galleries including the Bluecoat, FACT and Tate Liverpool. Also featured as part of Liverpool Biennial 2014 are the John Moores Painting Prize, Bloomberg New Contemporaries and shows at Open Eye Gallery and the Exhibition Research Centre. In addition, there will be work by artists and curators in solo and group shows and performances throughout the city ranging from artist run space Royal Standard to the Walker Art Gallery.www.biennial.com
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014
With Paul O'Keeffe Whistler's famous court case with John Ruskin is brought to life in ...
- Tickets: Free