Liverpool Biennial is the largest contemporary art festival in the UK. For ten weeks every two years it commissions the most exciting artists from around the world, attracting over 600,000 visitors in 2010.
Liverpool today offers the richest visual arts environment anywhere in the UK outside London. It has more galleries and museums, and commissions more new art than any other city except the capital and was European Capital of Culture in 2008. The Liverpool Biennial Festival takes place in a wide range of locations across the city, from established museums and galleries to unusual and unexpected places.
Participating organisations and venues include The Cunard Building, The Bluecoat, Everton Park, FACT, Liverpool ONE, Metal, The Monro, Open Eye Gallery, Tate Liverpool, Mitchell’s Bakery, LJMU Copperas Hill Building (Lime Street), the Walker Art Gallery, Victoria Gallery and Museum, and The Royal Standard.
Highlights of the programme include: Sky Arts Ignition Series, in partnership with Tate Liverpool, will present a major public commission by acclaimed US artist Doug Aitken, which will be installed on Albert Dock in a temporary structure designed by David Adjaye; American superstar Rhys Chatham, renowned for his large-scale performance works, will present a concert as part of the opening weekend; one of Argentina’s most established and internationally renowned artists, Jorge Macchi, presents a commission in which a huge object is wedged precariously in a public location; Israeli artist Oded Hirsch will present a work which will burst through the floor of the Liverpool ONE shopping centre; and Liverpool’s famous Cunard building being opened to the public for the first time to provide an unusual exhibition venue.
Liverpool Biennial 2012 will explore the theme of hospitality. Hospitality is the welcome we extend to strangers—an attitude and a code of conduct as well as a metaphor that suggests conditions and energies that inspire artists. Liverpool Biennial 2012 invites artists and thinkers to bring forth new understandings of hospitality for our increasingly globalised and complex times.
The exhibition The Unexpected Guest will show works by over 60 leading and emerging artists from across the world in locations throughout the city. The Cunard Building will be used as a venue for the first time this year.
City States brings together 40 artists from seven countries, exploring the dynamics between cities and states with new and existing works. It will present work from cities including Copenhagen, Gdansk, Hong Kong, Incheon, Lisbon, Makhachkala, Oslo, Reykjavik, and Vilinius. In partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, the LJMU Copperas Hill Building will host both City States and Bloomberg New Contemporaries.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries showcases the best contemporary work from art schools around the UK. Established in 1949, New Contemporaries is a founding partner of Liverpool Biennial.
The John Moores Painting Prize, the most celebrated contemporary painting prize worldwide, will be presented at the Walker Art Gallery.
The Royal Standard, Liverpool’s artist-led studio space, will present Service Provider, an exhibition which explores the role of Biennials in contemporary art.
The Victoria Gallery and Museum, participating in the Biennial for the first time, will present an exhibition by Liverpool-based artist Paul Rooney.
Each weekend of the Biennial has been curated to ensure that each of the 10 weeks of the festival has a distinctive and exciting programme that includes film, performance, comedy, music, archaeology, expeditions, poetry, dance, and a Young Peoples’ Biennial.
Liverpool Biennial 2012 curated by:
Sally Tallant, Artistic Director
The Unexpected Guest curated by:
Lorenzo Fusi, Curator, Liverpool Biennial
in collaboration with:
Sara-Jayne Parsons, the Bluecoat
Mike Stubbs and Omar Kholeif, FACT
Karen Newman, Open Eye Gallery
Sook-Kyung Lee, Tate Liverpool
Jenny Porter, Metal Liverpool
The Unexpected Guest: Art, writing and thinking on Hospitality, edited by Sally Tallant and Paul Domela, will be published by Art Books Ltd on the occasion of the Liverpool Biennial 2012.
Liverpool Biennial 2012 takes place across various venues and public realm sites.
Design by Sara De Bondt Studio, London. Photography by Edward Park.