Public Art, Liverpool
This fab sculpture by Edward Cronshaw is titled 'The Great Escape' and is made out of bronze, steel and other materials. The artist has made the texture of the horse resemble rope. As the horse rears up to break free from the man who is restraining it the rope has started to unravel. The sculpture shows romanesque influences and is a fusion of modern and historic forms.
The base of the sculpture is popular as a place to sit down for a quick rest but beware of the pigeon droppings as the birds like to roost on the horses head!
If you enjoy public art projects you really should see the Metroscopes by Clive Gillman. The metroscopes are five large circular digital displays that constantly change. Each one represents Liverpool and one of its twin cities (Odessa, Dublin, Shanghai and Koln).
Why are they so great?
Well, each metroscope automatically hunts the internet for live information on the city using the search phrase 'Liverpool is..' 'Shanghai is..' etc. displaying what it finds on the Metroscope. They do this 24 hours a day acting as a barometer for current thinking about our great cities
For me they capture the essence of how important the ebb and flow of information has become to our lives. The fact that they do this without human intervention adds a certain science fiction like quality to the project.
Artist Tracey Emin is a great fan of Liverpool and I just love her most recent contribution to the city. Tracey's work is often surrounded in controversy and enrages the narrow minded members of our population. Her sculpture ' Roman Standard' was no exception. Funded by the BBC at a cost of £60,000 this tiny bird on a four metre bronze pole produced the predictable outcry of '£60,000 for a little bird on a pole - ludicrous'.
In my view however Tracey has produced something that challenges the historical approach to public sculpture -often large dark and oppressive symbols of power.
The tiny bird is located in the shadow of the Anglican Cathedral - a location that serves to emphasize its tiny size. The bird disappears when viewed from the front appearing again like magic as you move from left to right.
Many other Liverpool VT sites make mention of Taro Chiezo's SuperLamb Banana and quite right too this is a great example of how sculpture can be great fun whilst also conveying something important - (Taro describes SuperLamb as a parody of genetic engineering).
Anyway please note the lamb has recently been on the move and is currently resting on the corner of Tithebarn Street outside one of the many LJM University buildings
Located on William Brown Street, the Walker Art gallery is said to host one of the best collections of art and sculptures in Britain.
As with most of the museums and art galleries in Liverpool admission is free, and you won't have to look far for more museums and galleries.
The Walker is open Monday - Saturday (10am - 5pm) and Sunday (12 noon - 5pm), although check their website to make sure.
The Lambana is one of Liverpool's many monuments, and probably the most controversial. People either love or hate the Lambana, but one thing is for sure - that no-one understands it!
If you haven't guessed by now, it is a Lamb and a Banana merged into one, it's bright yellow and after finishing it's tour of England found it's home on Wapping opposite Liverpool's Albert Dock.
Check it out, it makes a good photo!
For those who admire the work of graffiti artist Bansky scamper on down to Chinatown to admire his largest UK work. This huge image of a rat with a machine gun was commissioned back in 2004 as part of Liverpool’s Biennial Festival. Even today the art work continues to generate controversy. Ironically the cave dwelling city council whose previous cock ups included knocking down the original Cavern considered it an eyesore and wanted it covered over for (I joke not) Capital of Culture Year!
Who is this Liverpool band ?, and what did they achieve that the Beatles couldn't ?
(answer at the bottom of the page)
In Matthew Street you will find a wall devoted to all the number 1 hit records performed by Liverpool bands. The discs are set into the wall in a series of rows, and there are still quite a few places left to fill before it reaches the floor. Somehow I don't expect 'Gemini' (the crap entry into the Eurovision song contest) to be adding to that number.
There's this cute yellow submarine lying around at the other side of the street of Albert Dock. It's a public art thing and it was built by Cammell Laird apprentices in 1984.
This is what the plaque on the submarine says:
"In the town where I was born.." ...so began the imortal opening lines in the Beatles 1966 song "Yellow Submarine".
The hit record and film inspired fans of all ages - including apprentices at the world famous Cammell Laird Shipbuilding yard, on the River Mersey.
From a design by Graham Burgess, the apprentices built this 20-ton submarine, which is 51 feet long and made from plate metal, for the Liverpool International Garden Festival in 1984.
It was transported across the Mersey to the Festival Garden site at Otterspool where it was one of the main attractions for millions of visitors.
But, in 1997, the Festival site finally closed and the Yellow Submarine was left high and dry.
The tide turned when Liverpool City Council stepped in to rescue the Fab Four's rusting sub and give it a new berth in the city centre. The Yellow Submarine was first taken to a council depot where it was repaired and renovated by New Deal trainees from Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust.
Fully ship-shape, it was re-launched at this site on August 24th. 2000 for a new generation of Beatles fans. "
LATEST NEWS JANUARY 2005: The submarine is gone as the field where it was on is a huge building site. Does anybody know where it is? Is it under water even? ;)
There are many nice pieces of public art in Liverpool. One of my favourite ones is "A case history" in Hope Street. It is designed by John King and it shows 27 suitcases and bags - all with luggage tags with the names of famous Liverpudlians. It's really interesting to have a close look and find out about all the famous people from Liverpool.
This unusual site sculpture, created by John King in 1998 and commisioned by the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts with funding from the Natrional lottery, can be found near the cathedrals of Liverpool.
This lamb at the front and banana at the back sculpture designed by Taro Chiezo in 1998 has become Liverpools most hated and most loved public monument. It aims to warn of the perils of genetic engineering meddling.More interesting however the building behind the sculpture was Joseph Lamb and Sons, a marine outfitters. This building, like many others in the area, is changing in use as the docks are redeveloped so perhaps there is also represents urban change?
On our dash back to the carpark we passed two other fine pieces of public art. The first was this - The Yellow Submarine. I saw this many years ago at The Liverpool garden Festival and here it is now, beside the dual carriageway that cuts the city off from the waterfront.
What in heaven's name is planxty writing about now, you may well be asking yourself. A Superlambanana, whatever is that? a good question and one I would not have been able to answer until my recent visit to Liverpool.
As you can see from the photo, fairly obvious I suppose, is that it is a half lamb and half banana. Yes, I know it sounds mad, but it exists. The Superlambanana is a work of "art" by a Japanese artist called Taro Chiezo completed in 1998. It was originally intended apparently to show the dangers of genetically modified food, although a secondary explanation has emerged which is that Liverpool, always a busy seaport, was known for trade in both lamb and bananas.
The original, an impressive 17 feet tall, currently stands at the corner of Tithebarn Street and Vauxhall Road but you can see smaller versions just about everywhere. I have shown two examples here, the photographer Superlambanana is in the National Conservation Centre (see seperate tip) and the smaller one sits proudly atop the bar of the very decent Grapes pub near the city centre.
If you go to Liverpool, see how many you can spot!
The mere act of me writing this tip is actually a testament to a dear friend of mine. Nadean (Dino to her friends) is an art student easily young enough to be my daughter, in fact she calls me Da for a joke and some people actually believe it. I am a self-confessed artphobe, if such a word exists, well not so much phobic as I just had no interest whatsoever in art. It left me completely cold, especially so-called modern art. My tip on Tate Modern, London is a case in point. Actually, she has not convinced me of the value of modern art yet, but she is doing her level best to turn me onto art in general.
Having said all that, purely voluntarily on a recent trip to Liverpool and inspired by Dino's prompting, I visited the Walker art gallery in the centre and I actually enjoyed it. OK, it is probably more my kind of art, namely things that look like what they are meant to, not buckets of pig blood thrown randomly on walls or whatever.
Set in a wonderful old building, itself a work of art as shown, there is a large collection of very interesting exhibits. I was very surprised to find a painting that I actually knew the name of without looking at the annotation. It was "And when did you last see your father?" by William Frederick Yeames (1835 - 1918) which used to be a favourite print in living rooms at home some years ago. It was purchased in 1878 for the princely sum of £750. I dread to think what it is worth now.
The whole collection has a very long history, beginning in 1819, lthough the present building was not opened until 1877, and they describe themselves as a "gallery for the North." I think this is a good thing as so much of everything in England seems centred on London.
There were many other exhibits I enjoyed including a very detailed, although stylised, rendition of the death of Nelson. So, thanks Dino, and if like me you like your art to look like art, this place really is worth a visit.