Public View is just one of the exhibitions and events taking place as part of Bluecoat’s honourary programme (4 February – 30 November 2017) in celebration of the 300th anniversary of its building. Also the oldest in Liverpool’s city centre, the building the Bluecoat gallery lives in dates from 1717 and began life as a charity school, before becoming an arts centre in 1907 – making it the oldest of its kind in the UK. New research by Bluecoat staff indicates that the master mason and engineer behind the building were Edward Litherland and Thomas Steers, who were also responsible for Liverpool’s famous Old Dock, as well as a number of other buildings in the city. Now, the Bluecoat’s gallery will host an exhibition of 100 artists who’ve previously exhibited there, in a reflection of the organisation’s curatorial interests and distinctiveness.
Curated by Artistic Director Bryan Biggs, Public View features paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and video from the likes of Yoko Ono, Elizabeth Magill, Yinka Shonibare, Jeremy Deller and Mark Leckey. An eclectic exhibition, it includes artists who were at early stages in their careers when first hosted by the Bluecoat, but went on to international acclaim. Public View responds to the Bluecoat’s standing as an important venue for new art, which stretches over a century from the 1911 post-Impressionists to the ongoing annual showcase of emerging artists, Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Many of the works on show will have previously been exhibited at the venue, some having been specially recreated; others will be entirely new. Publiv View looks set to be a fitting celebration of one of Liverpool’s premiere arts venues, both looking back at the Bluecoat’s past, and forward to its future.