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It's Liverpool Biennial time

60 artists, 30 venues and more new art than anywhere outside London

Published on September 14th 2012.

It's Liverpool Biennial time

AMERICAN superstar Rhys Chatham, renowned for his large-scale performance works, presents a spectacular concert with 100 electric guitarists in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral tonight as part of the opening celebrations for Liverpool's seventh Biennial. 

The mammoth 10-week arts happening takes place across some 30 venues in the city, including The Cunard Building, which is open to the public for the first time, Liverpool ONE, and all the major arts organisations. 

Under the title The Unexpected Guest, 60 artists from across the world have converged on Liverpool to explore the theme of hospitality. The show gets under way properly tomorrow (September 15) and runs until late November. 

Rhys+ChathamGuitar hero: Rhys Chatham

Liverpool commissions more new art than any other UK city except London and the Biennial's new artistic director, Sally Tallant, is keen to expand on that. 

She says: “Liverpool Biennial is the most important contemporary arts event in the UK. Every two years the festival offers an enormous variety of free public events, exhibitions, and performances. This autumn will be no different. 

“I am particularly thrilled that we have expanded the Biennial to include new organisations and venues, broadening the scope wider than ever before. Our hope is that in future we can keep on expanding, filling as many spaces as possible with fantastic contemporary art. I look forward to seeing locals and visitors, from the UK and internationally, take part in experiencing everything that the city has to offer.” 


Highlights include one of Argentina's most internationally renowned artists, Jorge Macchi who presents Refraction, 2012; an immersive installation in which 27 iron bars are bent around one another, filling a 12 x 12 x 7m exhibition space in the LJMU Copperas Building. 

At Liverpool ONE, Israeli artist Oded Hirsch has installed a full-sized elevator which appears to burst through the floor, and Elmgreen & Dragset, whose work is currently installed on Antony Gormley's Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, will engage with “Liverpool’s infamous WAG culture” by presenting an over-sized VIP door, slightly ajar, manned by a smartly dressed bouncer. 

Meanwhile, Sky Arts Ignition Series, in partnership with Tate Liverpool,will present a major public commission by acclaimed US artist Doug Aitken, which has been installed on Albert Dock in a temporary structure designed by the artist in collaboration with David Adjaye. 

The last Biennial in 2010 attracted over 600,000 visitors and arguably contributed £27m to the city's economy.

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Claire RiderSeptember 14th 2012.

And not forgetting the cornerstone of the Biennial, which started in 1957 the John Moores painting prize. . . which opens tomorrow. With former prize winners such as David Hockney, Peter Doig and Lisa Milnroy. Peter Blake won the junior prize in 1961. http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/johnmoores

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