Originally conceived as an independent companion piece to the Biennial, Ian Jackson’s Art in Liverpool blog has, like the art scene it covers, grown ever more comprehensive, engrossing and essential with every year that passes.
Regularly rated amongst the best art and culture blogs in the UK, the site, now a joint collaboration between Ian and Minako Jackson is, once again, gearing itself up for another late summer of surprises, as Biennial: Touched, is set to infiltrate our city.
So, surely, they’re going to need a soothing summer soundtrack to cope with it all?
But first, some questions…
What made you set up Art in Liverpool?
A desire to inform. To promote visual art as much as we can because we love it. We love Liverpool too, there is so much going on in a compact, manageable area but we’d probably do something similar wherever we lived.
How much of your life does a major blog consume?
Very nearly all day every day, weekends included. Working mostly online at home as well as spending many hours visiting exhibitions and other cultural events.
What’s changed in the liverpool scene since you started? For better and for worse?
Galleries and artists come and go but I think overall the scene has grown and become more interconnected and collaborative. Liverpool has become more established as an arty city. With each Biennial confidence within the city and perceptions of those outside improves. We setup the Liverpool Art Prize in 2008 which also helps and more art graduates are staying here as postgraduate opportunities have increased.
Do you have set paramaters of what you’ll cover and what you don’t?
We try and stick to visual art in the Liverpool region to keep both the website and our time manageable but ocassionally other things creep in. It’s difficult to say no to all the theatre, dance, poetry groups who know they can reach a lot of people through us.
As we are completely independent we are free to promote or ignore as we choose, we try to list every exhibition – big or small but if, for instance, the BNP were to put on an exhibition it would not be on our site.
Are we in a good place now? Do you fear for the immediate cash-starved future?
It has been very good for the past few years but we are bound to lose some events in future years or they’ll be downsized, which is a great shame and is also counter-productive. There will still be lots of excellent art – most artists do what they do without any public funding, but sponsorship and patronage will be in short supply. So one has to wonder: will festivals like the Biennial, DaDafest, The Arabic Arts Festival and so on be slimmed down? Will we still have two full weekends of spectacular Waterfront events?
What’s been your most memorable events/exhibitions?
We love the whole 10 weeks of the Biennial, the Liverpool Art Prizes obviously stick in the memory because we organised them, Joyous Machines at Tate, Bernie Lubell and Pipilotti Rist at FACT and lots of shows by the local studio groups.
What are you looking forward to?
The Biennial (again) including the Independents (we do that website too), the John Moores Painting Prize, a new strand called City States and the collaboration of local studios and groups called the Co-Operative.
We can’t wait for the new Museum of Liverpool to open next year, apart from all the fantastic content it’s a stunning building and Open Eye’s move to Mann Island is exciting.
Who do you rate currently?
Oh, far too many to mention. All the Art Prize artists have been excellent and they’re just the tip of a very large iceberg. We doubt we will ever tire of visiting galleries.
Art is… (complete in less than 15 words)
- Art in Liverpool’s Summer Spotify Playlist
- And those we couldn’t grab from Spotify:
- Guitar – Treasure Friends
- Bad Dream Fancy Dress – Curry Crazy
- And the rather wonderful Marine Girls…
David Jacques picture: McCoy Wynne