Captain Beefheart at the Bluecoat

The arts centre celebrates the cult Californian musician, artist, poet and performer

In 1972, the cult American musician and artist, Captain Beefheart - aka Don Van Vliet (1941-2010) - showed his paintings at Bluecoat in what is believed to have been his first ever art exhibition. In 2017, the venue hosted an event that looked at his impact on popular culture through the lens of ‘total artist’, one who worked across music, visual art, writing and performance. Curated by Kyle Percy in collaboration with Chris McCabe and Bryan Biggs, this included a symposium, gigs by local musicians and Magic Band member Gary Lucas, poetry commissions, an archive exhibition, a psychogeographical walking tour of psychedelic Liverpool, and a participation project by Bluecoat's inclusive arts group, Blue Room.

This collection brings together material from both events, 45 years apart. More material, including the list of paintings shown in 1972 and documentation of the 2017 event, will be added to this collection. The banner image shows Beefheart with future owner of Liverpool's Eric's club, Roger Eagle (left) at the 1972 Liverpool Stadium gig that Eagle promoted, the first of four visits to the city by the musician.