Adrian Henri The Entry of Christ into Liverpool in 1964 Homage to James Ensor 1962–4

Adrian Henri
The Entry of Christ into Liverpool in 1964 (Homage to James Ensor) 1962–4
© Catherine Marcangeli

Bernd and Hilla Becher Prince Albert Dock Liverpool GB 1966

Bernd & Hilla Becher
Prince Albert Dock, Liverpool, GB 1966
© Bernd & Hilla Becher

Beat City

In the 1960s a cultural revolution emerged from Liverpool. It was centred upon music and especially the Cavern on Mathew Street, as seen in Daniel Farson’s film Beat City 1963, and the photographs for German magazine Stern by Max Scheler and Astrid Kirchherr.

However, other art forms played an equal part, from fashion to theatre to poetry and the visual arts. Involved in many of these forms was Adrian Henri. Henri staged happenings and poetry events at the Cavern and Hope Hall, wrote poetry and painted pop paintings, such as The Entry of Christ into Liverpool 1962–4.

A key site for artists was Liverpool 8. Among the artists who lived and worked there were Henri, pop artist Sam Walsh, John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe. This postcode came to signify a bohemian spirit as creative people came to visit and stay in the area. One famous visitor was Allen Ginsberg, who in 1965 proclaimed ‘Liverpool is at the present moment the centre of the consciousness of the human universe’.

Less well-known is the visit of German photographer Candida Höfer, who took some of her earliest exhibited images on a trip to experience the vibrant poetry scene in 1968. Höfer later studied with conceptual photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher who themselves visited Liverpool in 1966, capturing the Albert Dock in long-exposure shots.