Exhibition Starts Bluecoat’s 300th Anniversary Celebrations

Credit: Brian Roberts
A SPECIALLY curated exhibition, Public View, marks the beginning of Bluecoat’s 300th anniversary programme with 100 artists including Jeremy Deller, Mark Leckey and Yoko Ono Drawn from over 50 years of art at Bluecoat, the exhibition (4 February – 23 April 2017) will feature artists who have previously exhibited at the gallery, many at the beginning of their careers, and several now high profile artists. Public View will present a wide range of work, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photographs and video, with many pieces previously exhibited in the gallery, some re-made especially for the exhibition, and others completely new. There is a wide generational breadth of artists, from international names like John Akomfrah, Derek Boshier, Jeremy Deller, John Latham, Yoko Ono, Imran Qureshi and Yinka Shonibare, to younger artists like Jamie Shovlin and Niamh O’Malley. Reflecting Bluecoat’s continuing commitment to artists in the city region, there will be a strong representation of Merseyside-born artists such as Chila Burman, Mark Leckey and Paul Morrison, as well as others living and working locally, including Pete Clarke, Alan Dunn, Nina Edge, Leo Fitzmaurice, David Jacques, Paul Rooney, Twin Studio and Imogen Stidworthy. These have exhibition profiles beyond Liverpool, including internationally and many had their first significant shows at Bluecoat. Bluecoat has been showing new art for over 100 years, from Roger Fry’s seminal Post-Impressionists exhibition in 1911 that featured Picasso and Matisse, to showcases of the next generation of artists like the recent Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Its anniversary programme sees 300 days of celebration, running from 4th February to 30th November, 2017. It will comprise exhibitions, performances of music, dance and live art, literature events, commissions, a sociologist in residence, and a major heritage participation project, My Bluecoat. Bluecoat Chief Executive Mary Cloake said: “Bluecoat has been at the heart of Liverpool’s cultural life for many years and it seems fitting that, as the first exhibition in our 300th anniversary programme, Public View will highlight the diverse range of artists who have exhibited here. Bluecoat has always strived to be at the forefront of developments in contemporary art in the UK, often bringing major artists to Liverpool for the first time. “The organisation has played a key role in representing Liverpool on the national stage, and in establishing the city as a centre for ground breaking art. It is thanks to the support of the people of Liverpool that Bluecoat has been able to achieve as much as it has during its 300 years, and we invite everyone to join us in 2017 to celebrate our history and achievements, and look forward to our future”. Bluecoat Artistic Director Bryan Biggs, who has curated the exhibition, said: “Public View brings together works since when the gallery space was improved and an exhibition programme formalised. Even with 100 artists, this is but a small, though significant, sample of the thousands of artists who have shown here. It aims to reflect something of Bluecoat’s curatorial interests and distinctive exhibition programming over this period. “Visitors will be able to see some of their favourite artists or art that will be familiar from previous exhibitions, while at the same time discovering exciting new artwork, some of it never exhibited before. “There is a wide range of work included, with many of our ‘artistic alumni’ generously donating their work in the exhibition, or another work, to a fundraising auction to be held later this year that will help ensure Bluecoat continues its support for artists. “The exhibition is the perfect start to Bluecoat’s 300th anniversary year. It celebrates the achievements of our past while simultaneously looking towards the future as we maintain our long-running connection with these artists and continue our commitment to supporting artists at all stages of their careers.”