As Liverpool wraps itself up against the cold grip of mid-winter, plenty of warmth can be found in the many arts and cultural institutions. Away from the crowds of Church Street and the over-priced mulled wine from the wooden huts that spring up each year on St. George’s Plateau, the year is coming to an end with a wealth of exhibitions and events to enjoy on the well-earned break. Here, we have collected a choice few to whet the appetite.
Grayson Perry’s dresses, such as the one worn to collect his Turner Prize, are familiar to the public from Perry’s career as one of the UK’s most famous living artists. As Claire, Perry’s clothes are iconic, and The Walker is currently showing a collection of them. Having cross-dressed since childhood, this show celebrates identity formation and expression through the clothes we choose to wear, and the people we choose to be; Perry has said: “I think of my dressing up as the heraldry of my subconscious.”. Also at The Walker, this year’s Turner Prize nominee (and, dare I forecast, likely winner) Lubiana Hamid is showing 20 of her figures from the exhibition ‘Naming the Money’, which has shown at Spike Island, Modern Art Oxford and elsewhere. Here, the figures crop up across the gallery, animating the rooms stuffed with familiar oil paintings and relics.
Just off busy Bold St, FACT is true to form with ‘Under Cinema’ showing the work of Wu Tsang. Two galleries feature the artists’ moving image work. Downstairs, the camera appears to dance alongside the figures in the film. Upstairs, an intimate film charts singer/ songwriter Kelela’s creative process. To those unfamiliar with her incredible music, and new album, it is an eloquent introduction. To those who have long been following her music, the film serves to underscore the politics present in her work, and her unfailing ability to articulate the struggle she faces as a women of colour in the music industry.
Bluecoat closes it’s 300th year celebration with ‘In the Peaceful Dome’ , a show that looks back at the institutions’ long history, and forward to potential futures. The exhibition features many works, and stand-out piece include Grace Ndiritu’s film work and Jo Stockham’s sculptures and prints. Of course, Bluecoat is more than just its galleries, and events to look forward to include an artists talk on Dec 7th from Anna Barham put on by the free school fs (Anna is also available to meet Liverpool based artists), and Elements of Vogue which showcases some of the best new and emerging Vogue dance talent from across the UK (Dec 17th).
If you can face the bracing winds whipping across the waters, Tate’s winter offering includes a survey of the work of John Piper and a look at Surrealism as it was imagined in Egypt. Their Roy Lichtenstein display continues until next year, and was reviewed earlier by TSOTA. If you’re in that neck of the woods, a trip over to Open Eye gallery will reward you with ‘Culture Shifts: Local’ , in which photographers have worked alongside community groups in Liverpool. In so doing, Open Eye continue their commitment to socially engaged photography, leading the way in this field. The gallery also hosts photographer Chris Leslie who will talk about his work on ‘Disappearing Cities’, Glasgow in particular.
Many of the theatres are in full panto mode, with the Everyman offering The Little Mermaid and the Royal Court ‘The Scouse Nativity’ . The Winter Arts Market also returns on Dec 2nd, where Liverpool makers and artists offer up their wintery wares for sale.
For music, the ever-reliable Invisible Wind Factory bring Jon Hopkins to the city on Dec 8th. New years eve parties include Pale Master and Cartier 4 Everyone true to form with DJs all night at one of Liverpool’s finest, Drop the Dumbulls. For those with energy to dance left on New Years Day, DJ du jour Helena Hauff returns to Kitchen Street – surely the one of the last chance’s we’ll get to see this world class artist in such an intimate venue.
As ever, the arts and culture offer in Liverpool makes this city a wonderful place to spend the winter months. From a dance to world-class DJs to politically engaged works and a (potential and past) Turner Prize winners in our midst, you can’t be short of culture to enjoy over the next few months.