Continuing their inspired run of interesting-people-curating from the permanent collection, aka DLA Piper Series: This Is Sculpture, Tate Liverpool is exhibiting a suitably eye-catching selection of film, sculpture and paintings selected by master milliner, Philip Treacy.

If anyone’s got heads covered, it’s Treacy. The man responsible for designing 36 hats for K-Mid and William’s wedding (including Beatrice’s bonkers creation), Treacy worked with Tate Liverpool’s Head of Exhibitions, Gavin Delahunty, to select works from the gallery’s collection for the new display, Conversation Pieces.

As you’d expect, the selection is chock full of fascinators.

Big hitters include Jackson Pollock’s energetic Number 14, Lucian Freud’s tender portrait of Leigh Bowery, and Francis Bacon’s Three Figures and Portrait (yes, that old favourite).

But, in a sense, these do to the exhibition what a large brimmed hat does to your view in the theatre: they run the risk of stealing the view. So take time to sit in the semi darkness, enjoying the woozy soundscapes and shape-shifting visuals projected in the artists’ films booths, and enjoy the hidden craftsmanship of Treacy’s sculptural hat blocks: those ghostly wooden negatives over which Treacy creates his set piece designs.

We also enjoyed Andy Warhol’s pen and ink drawings from the 50s – some coloured by his friends, during his ‘colouring parties’ held at the ubertrendy Serendipity cafe – the forerunner to his ‘Factory studio’ production line.

Treacy’s selection is bold – we loved the translucent perspex screens Returning to an Abandoned Plant, by Liam Gillick, playful – Bruce Webber’s Galleon Hat is, surely, the highwater mark of headwear, and beautiful – the fragile doll-like sensuousness of Don Brown’s Yoko VIII – and, like all of the excursions in this series, continue to push back the boundaries of sculpture.

While you’re there, check out Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s curated exhibition too: lots of engaging fun with letters and typography here, as you’d expect – including an entire wall given over to Fiona Banner’s Don’t Look Back, a letraset evocation of the seminal Dylan documentary.

Conversation Pieces
DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture
Tate Liverpool
15 July 2011 – 19 August 2012  
Admission FREE

Sponsored by DLA Piper

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom 1985
Screen Print on Paper 
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, NY and DACS, London 2011

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