Press Release

Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde

Tate Liverpool  Second floor galleries
20 February – 9 September 2007

To coincide with Liverpool’s 2007 Year of Heritage, which marks the city’s 800th anniversary celebrations, Tate Liverpool is proud to present a special exhibition that investigates how the city has inspired and influenced a diverse range of nationally and internationally renowned artists since the 1940s. This timely exhibition will explore how artists have helped create an external view of Liverpool, both revealing, as well as challenging, myths of its creative scene in the post-War years.

The sense of Liverpool looking outward beyond the United Kingdom, and the world returning this gaze, is a feature of the city’s character. As George Melly points out, Liverpool is ‘aware of its own myth and eager to project it.’ This exhibition presents Liverpool as a world city with an undying capacity to inspire imaginations. Alongside the rise of Liverpool as a centre of the 1960s global pop revolution, it will reveal how the city has inspired documentary photography and politically motivated art, and played host to avant-garde artists and art movements from Pop art to Conceptual art. By presenting an interplay of external perceptions and creative influences it will examine Liverpool’s relationship to national and international avant-garde tendencies, revealing the city to be both the inspiration and site for radical and unexpected artistic activity.

Centre of the Creative Universe: Liverpool and the Avant-Garde will feature some of the most important artists of the post-War era, including Keith Arnatt, Stewart Bale, John Baum, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Boyle Family, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Maurice Cockrill, Jeremy Deller, Rineke Dijkstra, Filmaktion, Adrian Henri, Candida Höfer, John Latham, Melik Ohanian, Yoko Ono, Martin Parr, Bob and Roberta Smith, Alec Soth, Sam Walsh, and Tom Wood. By presenting many previously unseen works, this ambitious exhibition will re-vision the city of Liverpool as a work of art in itself.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication, published by Liverpool University Press, featuring full-colour images of exhibited works, and critical and contextual essays by key thinkers and historians.