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.
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.