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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

On New Grounds

On New Grounds

Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 - Sunday, 03 Aug 2014

This selection of intaglio prints exhibited takes its inspiration from Whistler’s drypoint and etching ...

  • Tickets: Free
The Caravan Gallery

The Caravan Gallery

Friday, 04 Jul 2014 - Sunday, 06 Jul 2014

The well-travelled Caravan Gallery returns to the Bluecoat courtyard with an exhibition of photos from ...

  • Tickets: Free
AICA Critics' Forum

AICA Critics' Forum

Saturday, 05 Jul 2014

This forum looks at criticism in the context of the Liverpool Biennial. The panel ...

Liverpool Biennial 2014 - Exhibition Talk

Liverpool Biennial 2014 - Exhibition Talk

Saturday, 05 Jul 2014

Leading Whistler scholar Margaret MacDonald from the Department of Art History, University of Glasgow, ...

  • Tickets: Free, booking required
Liverpool Biennial 2014 - Exhibition Tour

Liverpool Biennial 2014 - Exhibition Tour

Saturday, 12 Jul 2014

Join the exhibition’s co-curator Rosie Cooper (Project Curator, Liverpool Biennial) and the Bluecoat’s exhibitions ...

  • Tickets: Free, booking required
Summer Holiday Explore

Summer Holiday Explore

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 - Saturday, 30 Aug 2014

Mondays to Saturdays 10am-4pm in the galleriesWhy did Whistler make his gallery attendants wear ...

  • Tickets: Free, drop in
Liverpool Biennial 2014 - Exhibition Tour

Liverpool Biennial 2014 - Exhibition Tour

Saturday, 02 Aug 2014

Simone Mair (Assistant Curator, Liverpool Biennial) leads this tour.The 8th Liverpool Biennial Exhibition, A ...

  • Tickets: Free, booking required
Exploring Whistler in the galleries

Exploring Whistler in the galleries

Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 - Saturday, 25 Oct 2014

Every Saturday 1-4pm in the Hub and 11-4pm in the Galleries Why did Whistler make ...

  • Tickets: Free, drop in
Liverpool Biennial 2014 - Whistler v Ruskin: the 'Pot of Paint' Libel Trial

Liverpool Biennial 2014 - Whistler v Ruskin: the 'Pot of Paint' Libel Trial

Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014

With Paul O'Keeffe Whistler's famous court case with John Ruskin is brought to life in ...

  • Tickets: Free

About the Bluecoat

Liverpool’s centre for the contemporary arts, Bluecoat showcases talent across visual art, music, dance, live art and literature. As the most ...

Opening hours

Mon - Sat 9.00am - 6.00pm
Sun 11.00am - 6.00pm

Tickets & Information

0151 702 5324 | info@thebluecoat.org.uk

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