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Mary Kelly at The Whitworth

Another must see show by an important feminist and political artist.

Fabulous exhibition that reveals Mary Kelly’s attention to detail and love of using really beautiful materials to create her work.  Mary is back today to do an interview with Art Monthly and for a major symposium tomorrow.

Mary Kelly's MultiStory House during installation when The Culture Show was there

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Anish Kapoor: Flashback

Renowned artist and Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor took part in a photocall with Her Blood (1998), a major sculptural work selected by the artist specifically for Manchester Art Gallery’s exhibition space and being shown for the first time in the UK.

Anish Kapoor is known for his sensual and beguiling sculptures, creating his work using a range of tactile materials including pigment, stone, polished stainless steel and wax. Filling Manchester Art Gallery’s main exhibition spaces, this show (5 March – 5 June 2011) gives a unique opportunity to explore Kapoor’s earlier works alongside recent pieces lent directly by the artist, with a selection of significant sculptures on loan from UK collections, and from the Arts Council Collection.

A fantastic must see exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery launched at the start of March with a fine number of press in attendance and lots of great coverage.

Renowned artist and Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor with Her Blood (1998), a major sculptural work selected by the artist specifically for Manchester Art Gallery’s exhibition space and being shown for the first time in the UK.

Photocall at exhibition launch

Anish Kapoor interviewed by Jonathan Schofield


Great video by Littlestar

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It’s been a busy time…

…and I’ve not been able to update this site as much as I’d liked but we’ve been occupied with working on Creative Tourist’s Manchester Weekender, RNCM, Manchester Christmas Markets & Christmas Lights Switch-on, and Manchester Literature Festival.

AP photographer capturing the amazing Shrink performance at the launch of The Manchester Weekender

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I must be touched…

Letting the dust settle a little and then looking at who has come to review or interview is always an important factor in any media campaign and Liverpool Biennial is no exception.  It’s been over a week since the media descended on Liverpool and on the whole I’ve had some pretty positive feedback.

I spent Wednesday making sure that Rachel Campbell Johnston saw as much of the Biennial as she could in a day – exhausting but a necessity as her review was out in Friday’s issue of The Times.  This was great timing for us as that was the day all the arts professionals arrive in the city.  I have also finely honed my radar for where to find parking meters or even free parking (thank you Anglican Cathedral!) as I drove her about to try and cut down on the minutes walking.

Thursday is D Day as we accredit over 80 media. This seems to go very smoothly despite one member of the press being delayed at London Bridge meaning he misses the train at Euston.   He makes it later in the day and catches up with the Biennial and even fits in a football match!

Hollyoaks actress is prepared for her BBC North West Tonight interview in Lee Mingwei's Mending Project at 52 Renshaw Street

BBC North West Tonight plan a series of vignettes on different commissions and have chosen to film Lee Mingwei, Daniel Boshkov at The Bluecoat and Laura Belèm’s Temple of a Thousand Bells. By Friday the news editor decides they would also like to run a montage of what visitors can expect to see using vox pops from lots of our visiting guests.  Granada Reports run an overview with Andy Bonner posting his ‘Director’s Cut’ online that evening – he’s even been tweeting along the way as he and his cameraman film!

Mark Lawson & Touched artist Rosa Barba for Front Row special on Liverpool Biennial 2010

BBC Radio 4 Front Row ran Thursday evening – it was a tight edit for producer Helen Roberts as they recorded right up to the wire with Mark Lawson doing all the programme links from different parts of the Biennial. We have lots of comments the next day as the Biennial piece took up most of the programme – brilliant exposure for all featured.

The BBC’s imminent move up to Salford has also proved beneficial with national arts and entertainment online and BBC Radio 2’s arts show both covering the Biennial in depth. (link).

It was great to see both arts editors from Post & Echo at John Moores Painting Prize.  Catherine Jones and Laura Davis have supported the Biennial with some amazing coverage in the run up to the launch, managing to get their heads around the vastness and complexities of the Festival as a whole.

It’s early Friday morning and I have to go on BBC Radio Merseyside breakfast show where they are running a debate on their Facebook page about “Is It Art?”  I’m happy to say that Tony Snell was very much of the opinion that it is, especially when it’s Liverpool Biennial time!

Still plenty of critics from broadsheets and magazines out and about and Creative Times turn up to film Rosa Barba and Lorenzo in the Marx Lounge. Lorenzo manages to looks as if he has had a full night’s sleep even though he hasn’t, as it was the artists’ dinner the night before!

Mrs Butler's eldest interviewing Mingwei in the Mending Project at 52 Renshaw Street

BBC Radio Merseyside have fallen in love with the visitor centre and its enchanted forest feel so Billy Butler’s show comes live from there in the afternoon. Lots of artists and curators are interviewed but Billy is really taken with Lee Mingwei and his project declaring it to make a lot of sense to him.  Catching up with Mingwei this week and it seems plenty of Butler fans have turned up to participate in the Mending Project.

BBC Radio documentary maker extraordinaire Bob Dickinson gets stuck into Transfer

Meanwhile Tania Bruguera and Lorenzo with a host of artists and curators carry out Allan Kaprow’s action Transfer during Lewis’s speech at St George’s Hall. Bob Dickinson from BBC Radio 4 is part way through making a documentary about art happenings and ends up helping out too.

Saturday breakfast at Novotel where many media and artists are staying which gives me the opportunity to catch up with a few writers about their experience over the past few days.  Lots of positive reactions so keeping my fingers crossed about the reviews.  It might be the weekend but the requests still flow in…plus more press visiting – from Russia, China and even Creative Tourist from down the road in Manchester.

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Liverpool Biennial is launched

I love it when I’m on the home straight toward the launch of another Liverpool Biennial. Having lunch with a journalist the week before the Biennial opened, he remarked that it seemed like only yesterday that it was last on. Two years do seem to pass quickly but the great thing is that every Biennial is different and I can never predict what the media reaction is going to be like.

This year we had over 100 press accredited to attend the launch days on Thursday and Friday with a great mix from international, national and regional media outlets. A big group of critics and feature writers from Vogue, Monocle, Time Out, The Independent, The Guardian, Art Review, Art Monthly, Frieze and the FT planned to visit from Thursday giving their verdict on the new commissions, the prize-winners and even the city.

So what did my week look like?

Monday: I’m helping a producer from Front Row, BBC Radio 4’s flagship arts programme plan how she’s going to get presenter (and reviewer of past Biennials) Mark Lawson round most of the Festival on Thursday, taking in interviews with Laura Belem, Rosa Barba, Daniel Boshkov, Tehching Hsieh and Gary Hume along the way. And get back in time to edit it do into a whole programme to be broadcast that night! I don’t envy her.

Tuesday: I’m meeting with Tania Bruguera about all her media requests – she’s very much in demand so I need to make sure that we can schedule her interviews alongside the performances she’s planning. Laura Johnson from NML has volunteered to meet the press group and bring them up from London. I’m meeting with her to let her know who’s coming up and what they’ll need from her on the trip up: whether they want to be left alone or if they need lots of information about Liverpool and the Biennial.

Visiting Sachiko Abe's magical installation at A Foundation with The Times

Wednesday: the chief art critic for The Times is coming up a day early to review as she needs to file early for the weekend paper. As she only has a day I need to plan how she’s going to cram in a whole festival across multiple sites in 8 hours without exhausting her and making sure she has a fair idea of the depth and diversity of it.

Thursday: the day we’ve all been building towards is the day we reveal Liverpool Biennial to the press. Front Row are in town from 9am so it all has to be ready for their recording. We’ll have a team of interns, some of whom worked on the press desk in 2008, waiting for the first press to pick up their passes from 9am too. It’s the day I really look forward to, seeing the city awash with critics and feature writers.

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The Moomins are coming…to Bury!

Tampere Art Museum Moominvalley Collection. Photo Jari Kuusenaho. Copyright Moomin Characters TM

As ever the vision and aspirations of Poet, Curator and Bury Arts Manager Tony Trehy know no bounds as he has managed to secure an exhibition of Moomins creator Tove Jansson’s gorgeous illustrations for Bury Art Gallery.

The Moominvalley of the Tampere Art Museum is a museum devoted to original works by writer and artist Tove Jansson. Its unique collections comprise around 2000 works. The two Galleries have also confirmed exchange exhibitions of Finnish and British art to celebrate the cultural Olympiad for the London 2012 Games.

Magical Moominvalley:

The Illustrations of Tove Jansson from Tampere Art Museum Moominvalley Collection Finland

23 October 2010 to 15 January 2011

Tampere Art Museum Moominvalley Collection. Photo Jari Kuusenaho. Copyright Moomin Characters TM

The world of the Moomins from Finland has delighted and captivated children and adults alike for the last 65 years.  This Autumn Bury Art Gallery will bring this magical world to the town as the first exhibition of a unique cultural partnership between Bury and Tampere in Finland. It will be the only exhibition in the UK that coincides with the 65th anniversary of the Moomins.

The exhibition will capture the magic of The Moominvalley of the Tampere Art Museum, which creates the feeling of visiting the Moomin valley itself. Dimly lit with pools of dappled light with the Moomin boat and islands of stepping-stones, this enchanted space will provide the perfect backdrop for these original Moomin illustrations.

Tove Jansson was a prolific illustrator and less well-known for her work produced in newspapers. Depicting the cherished characters of Moominpapa, Moominmama, Moomintroll, Little My, Hemulen and The Groke, her beautiful drawings will be shown alongside a collection of rare examples of Jansson’s illustrations published in Finnish daily newspapers.

The exhibits appeal to children who are fascinated by tales of the Moomins but also to adults who can appreciate Jansson’s expressive drawings and the darker subtexts of the images and stories.

Finnish writer and artist Tove Jansson created the white hippopotamus-looking creatures whose adventures were translated into 34 languages. Jansson wrote and illustrated eight books about these eccentric creatures, the first of which The Moomins and the Great Flood was published in 1945.

The exhibition coincides with the re-printing of the Moomin stories in English and the opening of Moomins and the Comet Chase, the latest Moomin movie, launched at the Cannes Film Festival, with a soundtrack by Bjork.



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